Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press
Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews speaks at a news conference in Toronto on Monday, December 10, 2012. Ontario could become the first province in Canada to require restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores to post calorie counts on their menu boards and menus.
TORONTO - Ontario could become the first province in Canada to require restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores to post calorie counts on their menu boards and menus.
Health Minister Deb Matthews has introduced legislation that would apply the new rules to food service places that have 20 or more locations in the province.
She says they'd also be required to post a statement about daily caloric requirements to help educate patrons.
Matthews says public health inspectors would have the authority to enforce the rules and issue fines.
She says obesity costs the province about $1.6 billion a year in direct health-care costs.
She says federal legislation in the United States will soon require chain restaurants across that country to exhibit calorie counts on their menus.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says it's about giving people more information so they can make healthier choices.
She says it's also just one piece of a larger puzzle, which also includes activity levels and what you eat — not just the calorie count.
Wynne says the more people know, the better off they'll be.