Is Iced Coffee Illegal in Canada?

by LegalFix
Posted: July 13, 2022
import-export regulations

Recently, the internet has been ablaze with news stating that iced coffee is illegal in Canada. It might sound crazy, but some people worldwide wonder if there is any truth to this outlandish claim.

The legality of iced coffee in Canada became a hot topic when the TikTok user @taylorjacksonphoto posted a video clip stating the reasoning behind the alleged ban. The video states that the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) signed a trade deal in 2007 to buy coffee beans from specific nations. But there would be an additional cost if these beans were used to make iced coffee — specifically, an additional $30 million. The video went on to state that Canada’s previous Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, considered this to be an unreasonable and unnecessary expense, leading him to sign a deal that made iced coffee illegal.

The viral video went on to say that it was against the law for Canadians to purchase iced coffee or even drink iced coffee in the comfort of their own home. If this sounds too outlandish to be true, that’s because it is. Iced coffee is not illegal in Canada, and the claims in this particular TikTok video are not factual.

But while iced coffee lovers rejoice that they can still enjoy one of their favorite beverages in Canada, this hoax begs the question: would such a ban even be possible?

Can the Government Really Ban Iced Coffee?

Food bans may sound strange to some, but they aren’t unprecedented. Several countries have strict food restrictions for practical and religious reasons. For instance, Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates forbid the sale and consumption of pork as part of their religious practice. However, tourists and non-Muslims are permitted to consume pork if the establishment they are purchasing the pork from has a license to sell it.

If a country exists within the framework of a theocracy, it is possible for the government to ban specific actions or food and beverages that are not permitted by the country’s primary religion. We can attribute this to the fact that all citizens in a theocratic state must adhere to a specific religion. For example, countries such as Saudi Arabia adhere to the Sharia Law in Islam. There is also Vatican City, which is a Christian theocracy.

Of course, not all countries ban foods or drinks for religious reasons. Some countries prohibit foods for the health and safety of the residents. For example, raw milk is banned in Canada due to concerns that an unpasteurized product could spread diseases.

However, it is simply not feasible for the Canadian government to ban a beverage because it is a “waste of money.” This is because the Canadian government is a parliamentary democracy, which values the freedom and desires of the Canadian people — even if that desire is for something as simple as iced coffee.

Are Forks Illegal in Canada?

The iced coffee hoax isn’t the only rumor floating around TikTok. In May 2021, the same TikTok user @tylerjacksonphoto posted a video that stated that forks are illegal in Canada and that Canadians could not purchase forks in stores or online. The video stated that forks were banned as a direct result of “The Great Canadian Fork Fight of 1812.” The TikTok user said forks were considered a weapon in Canada but that the current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was interested in legalizing forks in Canada by 2022.

Just like the iced coffee hoax, none of this is true. But when it comes to plastic utensils, the Canadian government has made a few changes to their legality since the video went viral.

Single-Use Plastic Laws

On June 22, 2022, the Canadian government published the Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999, which details plans to prohibit single-use plastic products, including cutlery, checkout bags, straws, and other food serviceware. The ban will come into effect by December of 2022.

By 2025, the manufacturing, import, export, and sale of the following categories of single-use plastics will be illegal in Canada:

  • Food serviceware that contains “problematic plastics”

  • Checkout bags

  • Cutlery

  • Ring carriers

  • Stir sticks

  • Straws

Despite this ban, these new regulations have exceptions, including the following:

  • Products in transit. These regulations don’t apply to plastic items transiting within the Canadian borders. The ability to deem a single-use plastic product “in transit” depends solely on its final destination. However, this exception does not pertain to products stored in Canadian warehouses or sold to foreign customers.

  • Single-use straws for accessibility needs. Although these regulations ban most single-use plastic straws, plastic straws will remain available in health care facilities and stores to improve accessibility. In addition, these new guidelines do not prohibit the manufacturing or importation of plastic straws.

  • Waste and bags for containing waste. These new laws do not pertain to plastic manufactured waste or items intended to store waste, such as garbage bags. It is important to note that these regulations do not apply to single-use checkout bags.

Unlike the fork banning hoax, there are legitimate reasons for the Canadian government to ban single-use plastic items. These new regulations will allow Canada to reach their goal of eliminating all plastic waste by 2030, as explained in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. Simply put, you can still use forks in Canada, as long as they’re not plastic.

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