McDonald's Happy Meal could be subject of Quebec class action lawsuit
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2018 6:16PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 8, 2018 3:01PM EST
McDonald’s children’s menu is the subject of a class action lawsuit in Quebec.
Montreal lawyer Joey Zukran claims that the fast-food giant is violating Quebec’s consumer protection laws with ads that directly target children under the age of 13.
Traditionally packaged for children, the Happy Meal comes with a toy, often marketed at the same time as a blockbuster movie.
“Our pretention is that McDonald's is violating the consumer protection act by advertising toys to children and our position is that it's illegal,” said Zukran.
If the suit is authorized, customers in Quebec could make a financial claim.
“We're certainly seeking punitive damage for a flagrant violation, or what we consider to be a flagrant violation of the law and the individual reimbursement of the toy sales or a portion of a Happy Meal,” said Zukran.
For a class action to proceed, a judge first has to authorize it and determine if there’s enough merit.
McDonald's is currently fighting hard against the suit, and in a statement released Tuesday, the company said:
"We do not believe that this case should be authorized to proceed as a class action; nor do we believe that it has merit. McDonald's has been proudly serving guests in Quebec for many years, and we are aware of our obligations under Quebec's advertising laws."
The legal challenge has supporters, though.
In Quebec, Coalition Poids, a group that encourages healthy eating habits says McDonald's marketing tactics are questionable.
“We have to understand that marketing to kids, and specifically food, influences their habits, their foods, their consumption, so it's a concern for public health,” said Corinne Voyer of the coalition.
Coalition Poids is currently lobbying for a bill that's now before the Senate, which would ban marketing for children on popular food products right across Canada – including cartoons on cereal boxes and similar products.