2013 (Toronto) –
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released a national
report scoring each province on their alcohol policies. Ontario,
British Columbia and Nova
Scotia received the highest scores, while Quebec,
Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland received the lowest.
is one of the leading causes of disease and disability in Canada and
around the world. According to Health Canada, 4 to 5 million Canadians
engage in high-risk drinking which can be responsible for significant health
and social costs.
report, titled “Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Canada:A Comparison of Provincial Policies,” looked at 10 policies that can impact alcohol
use or its societal costs. Each province was scored on the degree to which they
have implemented precautionary alcohol policies.
”Alcohol use is associated with injuries, chronic
disease, cancer, and physical and sexual violence, and globally ranks third after high blood
pressure and tobacco as a contributor to
disease and disability,” said Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, Senior Scientist at CAMH.
“It’s a public health issue, and in order to reduce its harms, a combination of
evidence-based policies and prevention strategies is required. By collecting
data from each province on their alcohol policies in areas like pricing, availability,
advertising, and drinking and driving counter-measures, we can see how each province can improve.”
Ontario scored highly on controlling the availability
of alcohol, on strategies to deter drinking and driving and policies that
regulate alcohol advertising and marketing practices, which were areas other
provinces needed to improve upon.
Ontario also received high scores for
adjusting alcohol prices based on alcohol content, for its restriction of certain types of ads
and for having a clearly identified advertising enforcement authority and
highlights from the study:
- New Brunswick and Newfoundland
and Labrador were the only provinces to place
limitations on the quantity of alcohol advertisements.
60 per cent of alcohol retailers in Nova
Scotia and P.E.I. are government owned, resulting in
high scores for their control system.
provinces scored well with legal drinking age by having legislation in place
that prohibits the sale and purchase of alcohol to a minor and having
enforcement of the minimum legal drinking age in all types of alcohol outlets (liquor
stores, bars, restaurants, etc).
- British Columbia and Ontario received top scores for identifying physician screening for problem alcohol use as
a priority area while other provinces had little to no activity in this area.
- British Columbia, Alberta,
Manitoba, Ontario and P.E.I have province-wide,
mandatory server training programs for staff at all public establishments. Ontario and Manitoba
increased their score by also requiring staff at licensed events to be trained
in responsible alcohol service.
- Alberta and Nova
Scotia had high scores for their provincial alcohol
strategies, being the only provinces to create alcohol-focused provincial
Researchers hope that these findings will cause
policymakers to take another look at their alcohol policies and make
This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research and included data from the Provincial Liquor Boards and Mothers
Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) Canada.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's
largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care,
research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform
the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is
fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health
Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For
more information, please visit www.camh.ca.