CAMH’s Response to Expansion of Beer Sales in Ontario
April 16, 2015 - Today the Ontario government announced its plans to reform beer retailing and distribution. The relationship between alcohol availability and harm is well established, so CAMH is disappointed in the large number of retail outlets that will soon be added in Ontario. We also know from the experience of other jurisdictions that private alcohol retail outlets tend to have longer opening hours and pay less attention to challenge-and-refusal protocols compared to outlets run by a government monopoly. For that reason we are gratified to see many of CAMH’s recommendations reflected in the plan that was announced today. In particular, limiting operating hours, maintaining minimum pricing, and ensuring that sales staff are properly trained are all strategies that, if carefully implemented, can substantially reduce the risks. Holding this new retail channel to the same social responsibility standards that exist in the LCBO will be critical to mitigating potential harms.
An approach to alcohol policy that prioritizes public health and considers the costs associated with alcohol consumption is critical to our health and well-being. As the government implements the Council’s recommendations, we encourage it to keep health at the forefront.