Quebec to ban high sugar, alcohol drinks from convenience, grocery stores

The Quebec government will move to ban sales of sugary, high-alcohol beverages in convenience and grocery stores.Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux will introduce an amendment to his bill seeking to modernize the province’s alcohol and gaming legislation.

It comes amid calls for government action following the death of 14-year-old Athena Gervais, who reportedly consumed such a product last month before vanishing.She was found dead in a stream behind her high school in Laval on March 1.

The new rules would apply to beverages that contain more than seven per cent alcohol and make them available only at Quebec liquor commission outlets.

Coiteux said, “(These products) are a kind of a bait because young people drink that and they don’t even feel the alcohol within the product because of the high level of sugar.”

The measure would come into effect after the law is adopted by the end of the current parliamentary session in June.

While the minister’s amendments got a nod from the CAQ, Quebec Solidaire (QS) said the government ignored warnings from doctors and the non-profit organization, Educ’Alcool until it was too late.

Coiteux said Quebec will maintain pressure on Health Canada, which is reviewing various products on the market with Quebec authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to assess their safety.