BANANA STREET, Ont.
— “We’re not happy,” says Kevin Henn, a former bartender at a bar on Bananas Street in Ontario’s Niagara Region.
“There’s been no response from the city or the province, and we’re hoping to get a cease and desist letter from the province.”
On Jan. 1, 2016, Ontario’s government passed the first major anti-smoking legislation in Canada.
The new rules, which included bans on the sale of flavoured ice cream cups to minors and a ban on the purchase of flavouring and sugar-containing drinks in grocery stores, were widely viewed as a positive step towards reducing smoking rates in the province.
The new regulations came as a surprise to Henn and his friends.
For the past four years, he has worked as a bartender at the bar, where he’s known the owner and his wife, a woman in her late 60s.
He says he has been receiving several cease anddesist letters over the years from the Niagara Region Health Authority.
One of them came in 2016, demanding he cease and de-register the ice cream he serves at the place he works.
Henn says he was told by the manager of the establishment that the city had no legal obligation to give him an explanation, and he wasn’t allowed to use his business name to sell his product.
The province also took issue with the city’s plan to sell flavoured and sugar water ice cream to minors, which would have resulted in thousands of dollars in revenue.
“This is an issue that we’re facing now in Ontario and we have not seen any response from government, so we’re hopeful to get some legal action,” says Henn.
In a statement, the Niagara Regional Municipality said it was aware of the situation, and is considering its options.
The city said it would be seeking an order of protection from the court to stop the ice-cream sales.