Canadian Bottled Water Association Says No to Toronto's Proposed Bottled-Water Tax



    RICHMOND HILL, ON, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - The Canadian Bottled Water Association
(CBWA) announced today they do not support a proposed City of Toronto tax on
bottled water and are calling on the City of Toronto to reject the proposal.
    The bottled-water tax proposal, put forward by Bill Saundercook, a
Parkdale-High Park Councillor, asks the city to explore adding an extra five
cents to the cost of water bottled in Ontario, and 10 cents to the cost of
water bottled outside the province. Toronto Mayor David Miller has expressed
his support for the proposal which will be addressed early next week by City
Council's Executive Committee.
    "The Canadian Bottled water association believes there is no
justification for imposing a discriminatory tax on a staple grocery item
-especially one that promotes good health," said Elizabeth Griswold, executive
director, CBWA. "Bottled water is regulated by both the federal and provincial
government, and is also categorized as a food product under Health Canada's
Food and Drug Act. It should not be unfairly singled out for taxation.
Targeting one industry in an attempt to make up for revenue shortfall is
irresponsible."
    "We encourage Mayor Miller to consider the health and economic
implications, as well as the bottled water industry's commitment to
environmentally sustainable solutions, before making an ill-informed
decision," said Griswold.

    
    Health Implications
    -------------------
    -   Increasing the cost of bottled water will discourage people from
        drinking the healthiest bottled beverage. More and more consumers are
        turning to bottled water as a healthy beverage alternative at a time
        when there is growing concern about obesity and snack food. People
        drink bottled water, not only because of its good taste, portability
        and dependable quality, but also as a calorie-free alternative to
        higher calorie beverages.

    -   Over the last five years, many beverages have experienced a slowdown
        in their sales growth. During the same time period, the demand for
        bottled water has increased as Canadians indicate their preference
        for a healthy bottled beverage.

    -   Bottled water provides Torontonians with a healthy and needed
        beverage alternative. In fact, 95% of current bottled water users
        switched from drinking other beverages to drinking bottled water, not
        from tap water. A tax will make this healthy beverage choice less
        accessible to consumers.

    Commitment to Recycling
    -----------------------
    -   When it comes to environmental stewardship, the bottled water
        industry is part of the solution. We partner with other beverage
        producers, municipalities and recycling advocacy groups to encourage
        and build upon the curbside recycling infrastructure. The bottled
        water industry already contributes significantly to the cost of
        recycling in Toronto, as part of the industry stewardship program
        that financially supports the province's highly successful Blue Box
        system. In Ontario, all water-bottlers, through participation in
        Stewardship Ontario, do our part to support recycling by paying
        50% of the municipal recycling costs for our products in this
        province.

    -   All bottled water containers can be recycled, and the industry
        strongly supports recycling and encourages consumers to ensure their
        bottled water packaging is recycled through their local recycling
        program. Water bottles, which are 100% recyclable, are already among
        Ontario's most recycled consumer packaging.

    Economic Implications
    ---------------------
    -   Additional taxes, imposed on a single product, harm local businesses,
        their employees, their suppliers and their retail customers.

    -   Beverage taxes will drive consumers outside the city limits to buy
        food and other items, compounding the negative economic impact on the
        local economy.

    -   The average 500 ml bottle of water, when sold in a case, retails for
        $0.15 per bottle. A tax of $0.05 - $0.10 would increase the purchase
        price by 29% - 59%. This unreasonably high increase will have an
        impact on consumers, retailers and manufacturers.

    Commitment to Environmental and Resource Management
    ---------------------------------------------------
    -   Bottled water companies strongly believe in sound science and
        environmental stewardship when it comes to managing groundwater
        resources. That is why the industry seeks and supports a regulatory
        framework that protects groundwater, promotes sustainable
        development, and ensures a sustainable, science-based approach to
        water management.

    -   Bottled water actually requires significantly less water to produce
        than most other beverages, making it a water source-friendly
        beverage. While bottled water manufacturers are an obvious user of
        water, the total extraction of water by Canadian-based water bottling
        companies is actually very small. Commercial bottled water production
        in Ontario accounts for less than 0.0014% of all water used by other
        permitted users including, commercial, agricultural, industrial and
        recreational activities.
    

    The Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA) is the authoritative source
of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1992, CBWA's
membership includes Canadian bottlers, distributors and suppliers. CBWA is
committed to working with Health Canada, which regulates bottled water as a
packaged food product, and provincial governments to set stringent standards
for safe, high quality bottled water products. Additionally, CBWA requires
member bottlers to adhere to the CBWA Bottled Water Model Code, which mandates
additional standards and practices, that in some cases, are more stringent
than federal and provincial regulations. A key feature of the CBWA Bottled
Water Model Code is an annual unannounced plant inspection by an independent,
third party organization. For more information about CBWA, bottled water and a
list of members' brands, please contact Elizabeth Griswold, CBWA Executive
Director at Griswold@cbwa.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Elizabeth Griswold, Executive Director, CBWA,
(416) 618-1763

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CANADIAN BOTTLED WATER ASSOCIATION

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