Canada in Brief, Feb. 25-Mar. 2

March 2, 2016 Updated: March 3, 2016
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Senate committee urges overhaul of Canada’s Food Guide to combat obesity

OTTAWA—A Senate committee is calling for a national campaign to address obesity, including an overhaul of Canada’s Food Guide to reflect current scientific evidence.

In a report released March 1, the committee also calls for a possible tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and a ban on advertising food and drinks to children.

Committee chair Sen. Kelvin Ogilvie says obesity is a crucial determinant of serious health issues and declining quality of life, and that a significant reduction in sugar consumption would go a long way toward promoting normal body weight and improved health.

The report notes the number of obese adults has doubled in Canada since 1980, while the number of obese children has tripled.

BC introduces legislation to protect Great Bear Rainforest from logging

VICTORIA—British Columbia introduced legislation March 2 to halt logging in much of the Great Bear Rainforest, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson says often-opposing groups in B.C. can now co-exist as they share and preserve the riches of a global treasure, located about 700 kilometres north of Vancouver.

The government announced a landmark agreement last month to protect the area after 20 years of talks with industry, First Nations, and conservation groups.

The deal protects 85 percent of the 6.4-million-hectare area that stretches from the Discovery Islands on Vancouver Island northwards to Alaska.

Anti-logging protests during the 1990s drew worldwide attention to the issue, forcing the parties to compromise and reach an agreement.

More ‘ugly’ fruit and veggies coming to Loblaw stores across Canada

TORONTO—Loblaw has announced that more types of cheaper but blemished and misshapen  produce will soon be available across the country.

The company launched its Naturally Imperfect line last March, offering so-called ugly apples and potatoes to Ontario and Quebec shoppers as part of a trial run that later expanded to select stores in other provinces.

Based on the program’s success, Naturally Imperfect will now include unsightly peppers, onions, and mushrooms for consumers in Quebec and Ontario, while Loblaw stores in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Atlantic Provinces, and Whitehorse, will stock some of the produce.

The uglier version of a fruit or vegetable costs up to 30 percent less than its good-looking counterpart.

Rexall Health drugstore chain sold in $3 billion deal

CALGARY—The Edmonton-based Katz Group has agreed to sell the Rexall Health drugstore chain, including its 470 retail pharmacies, in a C$3 billion deal with U.S. health care company McKesson.

McKesson says the friendly deal is the next natural step to take in the relationship between the two companies, which have worked together for 20 years.

The San Francisco-based firm previously acquired Katz’s independent outlets and franchise businesses—primarily operating as I.D.A. and Guardian—for about C$920 million in 2012.

McKesson Canada, which was founded more than 100 years ago, says it would have about 13,000 employees after the Rexall deal closes, which is expected to be later this year.