Reducing alcohol-related harm in Canada requires a collaborative, multi-faceted and long-term approach. The approach needs to promote evidence-informed policies and practices, and to deploy social marketing, community education, regulation and enforcement activities, as well as other tactics.
To address this need, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) partnered with Health Canada and the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission to co-chair an expert working group of 25 members from federal and provincial governments, national not-for-profit organizations, First Nations and Inuit organizations, academia, and the tourism and alcohol industries to develop 41 recommendations for a national alcohol strategy, as seen in
Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm in Canada: Toward a Culture of Moderation.
Led by the
National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee, initiatives to address 37 of the 41 recommendations are now underway, including the examples shown below. CCSA has produced a report as a first step in an effort to monitor progress.
The National Alcohol Strategy Monitoring Project: A Status Report provides a scan of available information that can be used to document the implementation of the NAS and an idea of what information gaps exist.
Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Launched with the support of federal, provincial and territorial health ministers in 2011, the Guidelines have since been endorsed and promoted by more than 20 partners:
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has distributed more than one million brochures;
Éduc’alcool has promoted the Guidelines in bars, restaurants and cinemas in Quebec;
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and McMaster University include the Guidelines in their addictions curriculum project for physician training;
The Canadian Forces produced over 20,000 drink glasses with the Guidelines printed on them as “educational tools” to be distributed at training events and seminars; and
The Middlesex-London Health Unit produced a video,
Understanding Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.
Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral: This website resource was developed in partnership by CCSA and the College of Family Physicians of Canada to help healthcare professionals detect and address risky alcohol consumption among their patients.
Staff and Server Training Programs
The Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions regularly updates their staff training programs to ensure alcohol is consistently sold in a socially responsible and legal way.
Minimum Alcohol Pricing
CCSA and the Centre for Addiction Research of British Columbia (CARBC) have both published
alcohol pricing papers recommending that alcohol prices be indexed to inflation and based on alcohol volume.
Policies and programs for deterring underage drinking
CARBC and CCSA jointly launched a policy brief on
caffeinated alcoholic beverages;
CARBC has developed a suite of resources for the B.C. government to support parents in helping young people develop knowledge and attitudes consistent with low-risk drinking; and
The B.C. government introduced a “Minors as Agents” program for testing licensee compliance with prohibitions on sales to minors.
Community Alcohol Awareness Campaigns
Public health units across the country collaborate with school boards, parent groups and community partners to plan and support alcohol-related education and awareness. One example is the
Rethink Your Drinking campaign, a joint project of nine health units in southwestern Ontario.
Learn more about alcohol initiatives in Canada, including how you can get involved.