Sugar-sweetened Drinks Tax-Discussion Paper

Type of resource: 
Publication date: 
January, 2019
Resource Type: 
Executive Summary: 

In NWT Budget 2017-18, the Government of the Northwest Territories committed to investigate introducing a sugary drinks[1] tax as a way to reduce sugar consumption and improve public health. This investigation into using the tax system as part of the public health initiative to reduce obesity and improve oral health has led to the proposal to introduce a sugar-sweetened beverages tax to reduce sugar consumption in the Northwest Territories. This paper is to generate public discussion on whether a sugar-sweetened beverages tax would be effective in reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.


[1] The technical definition of ‘sugary drinks’ is all beverages with ‘free sugars’, which includes all natural sugars in fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates, honey and syrups; and, monosaccharides and disaccharides that are added to foods and beverages. Although the 2017-18 Budget announced an investigation of a ‘sugary drinks’ tax, the need to balance sugar content and nutritional value of certain products, the proposal is for a tax on ‘sugar-sweetened beverages,’ which are defined as beverages with ‘added sugars’ and typically includes non-diet carbonated soft drinks, ready-to-drink sweetened tea and coffee, energy drinks, sports drinks, and ‘fruit drinks’ with less than 100 per cent juice.