Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Canadians Under 54 Drinking More While at Home Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Ottawa, April 15, 2020 — 25% of Canadians (aged 35–54) and 21% of Canadians (aged 18–34) say they have increased the amount of alcohol they drink while spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 10% of adults older than 54 say they have been drinking more alcohol since they began practicing social distancing and self-isolation.

These changes in drinking patterns have been uncovered by a new Nanos poll commissioned by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). The poll also found that the main reasons for the increase among those who report drinking more are a lack of regular schedule (51%), boredom (49%) and stress (44%). Overall, 94% of Canadians report they are currently staying at home more due to COVID-19.

Dr. Catherine Paradis, senior research and policy analyst at CCSA, provides a possible explanation for the increase. “The Canadian drinking culture is one where alcohol use serves as a boundary between weekday and weekend, work and leisure; it marks a ‘time out.’ With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, these boundaries have become blurred. Disrupted routine may be accompanied by loneliness and anxiety about the current situation. With the possibility that people are stocking up and there is more alcohol in the home than usual, some might drink more than they typically do.”

“This data validates what we have all been saying. Substance use increases during times of stress and anxiety,” explains Rita Notarandrea, CEO at CCSA. “Providing Canadians access to information about using alcohol or cannabis in safer ways is our primary goal during this challenging situation. We also want to increase awareness of other additional supports people can access, such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s resource hub, to help deal with the stress and anxiety that Canadians are currently feeling, which can contribute to their substance use.”

In response to these figures, CCSA is providing resources to reduce potential harms associated with increased alcohol consumption. COVID-19, Alcohol and Cannabis Use is an infographic outlining the risks associated with increased alcohol and cannabis use during the COVID-19 pandemic, including how it can affect your immune system and increase susceptibility to COVID-19.

In addition to promoting this new resource, we’re profiling our other trusted alcohol resources:


Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,036 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between March 30 and April 2, 2020, as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

The margin of error for this survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience possible on our website. 

You can change your cookie settings in your web browser at any time. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive cookies from our website. Review our Privacy Notice for more information.