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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

CCSA is excited to have received funding from Health Canada to lead an initiative to update Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDG). The updated guidelines will provide Canadians information to make well-informed and responsible decisions about their alcohol consumption. They will address the unique needs of specific target groups that are particularly at risk, such as youth, women and people with chronic diseases. We expect to release the new guidelines in 2022.

For more information about this project, please contact the project coordinator at llevett@ccsa.ca.

Public and Stakeholder Consultations

Public and Stakeholder Consultations

People living in Canada should have access to the latest evidence about alcohol to make informed decisions about alcohol use. They should also have opportunities to have their voices heard and share what matters to them when it comes to their health, well-being and alcohol consumption. Consulting with the public, professionals and organizations concerned with alcohol, health and well-being throughout the guideline development process is key to ensuring the updated Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines meet the diverse needs of people and organizations in Canada, and are accessible to all.

Public Consultation on the Current Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

CCSA held a six-week, online public consultation on the current Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDGs) between March 8 to April 18. The scope of this consultation was to understand the experiences of people in Canada with the current Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and their needs and expectations for updated guidelines. It was open to all people in Canada including the general public, professionals and representatives from organizations with an interest in alcohol, health and well-being.

At total of 4,846 people from every province and territory across Canada completed the online consultation questionnaire. Contributors included members of the general public, people with lived or living experience with an alcohol use disorder, and people who responded to the consultation in their professional capacity or on behalf of an organization.

CCSA will release a report in summer 2021 outlining how the consultation was conducted and summarizing what we heard.

Stakeholder Consultations

Building on the findings from the public consultation, CCSA will provide key stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute information to support the LRDG update. Stakeholder consultations will take place throughout summer 2021.

Consultations with Representatives of Health Organizations

Although the LRDGs are for the public, professionals and organizations concerned with alcohol, health and well-being play a key role in their promotion and dissemination. CCSA wants to engage with representatives from different organizations that have an interest in alcohol-related issues to learn about their experience with the current LRDGs. The interviews will also be useful to better understand and meet the needs of organizations that seek to support people to make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption. 

The information received will help to establish the most effective approaches for mobilizing the updated guidelines. A summary report of these consultations will be published in fall 2021.

Consultations with At-Risk Groups: Women

Research informs us that women often use alcohol in different patterns and for different reasons than men. We also know that the female body is more sensitive to alcohol. With this in mind, CCSA wants to engage with women to gain a deeper understanding of alcohol-related issues that matter to them and that could lead them to pay attention to the updated LRDGs.

Hearing from this demographic will guide knowledge mobilization efforts to increase uptake of the updated guidelines. A summary report of these consultations will be released in fall 2021.

Related Information

For more information about CCSA, the LRDGs and our mandate, please visit:

https://www.ccsa.ca/
https://www.ccsa.ca/research-alcohol
https://www.ccsa.ca/lrdg-project-2022

Contact Us

Project Coordinator: Lauren Levett (llevett@ccsa.ca)
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
75 Albert St., Suite 500
Ottawa, ON K1P 5E7

 

LRDG Public Consultation FAQs

Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines Public Consultation FAQs

What are Canada’s current Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines?

  1. Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days, and 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days.
  2. Reduce your risk of injury and harm by drinking no more than 3 drinks (for women) or 4 drinks (for men) on any single occasion. Plan to drink in a safe environment.
  3. Zero is the limit when:
    • Driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools
    • Taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
    • Doing any kind of dangerous physical activity
    • Living with mental or physical health problems 
    • Living with alcohol dependence
    • Pregnant or planning to be pregnant 
    • Responsible for the safety of others
    • Making important decisions
  4. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or about to breastfeed, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.
  5. Youth should delays drinking. If they choose to drink, they should do so under parental guidance; never more than 1–2 drinks at a time, and never more than 1–2 times per week. Youth in their late teens to age 24 years should never exceed the daily limits.

Why are Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines being updated?

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines were originally published in November 2011. Since then, the evidence on the association between drinking alcohol and physical, mental and social harms has evolved. Many countries, including the U.K. and Australia, have updated their guidance on drinking to reflect these advancements in what we know about the risks and benefits associated with alcohol. In July 2020, with the support of Health Canada, CCSA was mandated to update the Canadian guidelines by March 2022. We want Canadians to have the latest evidence-based advice on alcohol to support them in making informed decisions about its use.

When is the public consultation open?

The first public consultation will open on March 8, 2021 and run for 6 weeks until April 18, 2021.

Who can take part in this public consultation?

This consultation is open to all Canadians. We particularly want to hear from:

  • Members of the general public with an interest in health and alcohol use
  • Professionals with an interest in the alcohol industry, health, health promotion, health research, and health monitoring or surveillance, including  health professionals and educators
  • Representatives of organizations from various sectors, including:
    • Government
    • The alcohol industry (from producers to manufacturers and retailers)
    • Civil society and community groups working in areas related to alcohol prevention
    • Public health professionals and organizations
    • Research and academia
    • The armed forces

How do I take part?

The Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines public consultation will be hosted on CCSA’s website. It is a short multiple-choice survey with 20 questions that should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. The first public consultation will open on March 8, 2021 and run for 6 weeks until April 18, 2021.

How will you use the feedback from this public consultation?

Your feedback will help us learn about the experiences of the general public and stakeholders with the current Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and their needs and expectations for updated guidelines, namely:

  • Whether and how Canadians are using the current alcohol drinking guidelines;
  • What are some of the challenges to using the current guidelines; 
  • What is most useful in the current guidelines; and 
  • What your needs and expectations are for the updated guidelines.

Your information will be used to help inform the update to the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. The findings of the consultation will be summarized in a report and made available on our website.

I’m worried about confidentiality. How will you use my data?

The information you provide for this consultation is completely confidential and anonymous. It will only be used for the purpose of informing the update to the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. It is up to you how much or how little information you choose to contribute. You have the option of providing us with your email address if you would like to be updated on the project.

Related Information

For more information about CCSA, the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and our mandate, please visit:

https://www.ccsa.ca/

https://www.ccsa.ca/research-alcohol

https://www.ccsa.ca/lrdg-project-2022

 

Contact Us

Project Coordinator: Lauren Levett (llevett@ccsa.ca)
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
75 Albert St., Suite 500
Ottawa, ON K1P 5E7

Project Background

Project Background

Since the original release of Canada’s LRDGs in November 2011, new evidence has been uncovered on alcohol-related mortality and morbidity. Research has also evolved on how drinking alcohol contributes to social harms. Other countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, recently updated their guidelines to reduce the health risks of alcohol consumption.

The LRDG update will be the result of a collaborative process among CCSA, scientists, knowledge mobilization specialists and representatives of various Canadian organizations, including Health Canada. The process will be consensual and based on co-operation. It will also be voluntary and flexible. All parties will participate with equal status and the expression of each parties’ points of views will be encouraged.

 

Process to Date

Process to Date

The project to update Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDGs) began in July 2020 and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2022. This diagram provides an outline of the process being followed to perform the update, with notations on the progress of the project to date.

Click the links in the diagram for more information and to access supporting documents. The steps in the process outlined in the diagram are summarized below:

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  • Source guidelines: Summary of the current Canadian LRDGs, the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines and the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
  • Declaration of Interest: List of affiliations, and financial and intellectual interests from the past three years for members of the Executive Committee and the Scientific Expert Panels.
  • Terms of Reference: Outline of the terms of reference for the Executive Committee and Scientific Expert Panels, including information on the project scope, governance and roles and responsibilities.
  • Prioritize research questions: The process used to develop the research questions to support the update of the LRDGs.
  • Evaluate Canadian, U.K. and Australian guidelines: Evaluation of the methodological quality of the current Canadian LRDGs, the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines and the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
  • Public consultation on the LRDGs: A summary of Canadians’ experiences with the current LRDGs and their needs and expectations for updated guidelines, based on responses from 4,845 participants.
  • Systematic reviews on understanding and response to public health guidelines: Update of the evidence review, originally produced by the 2016 United Kingdom alcohol guideline group, to determine how people understand and respond to official public health guidance.
  • Systematic review on the effects of alcohol on physical health, mental health and social harms: Update of the evidence review assessing the relationships between alcohol use, physical health, mental health and social outcomes, based on the work of the Australian alcohol guidelines group.
  • Systematic reviews of novel topics: Evidence reviews of the relationships between alcohol use and specific outcomes, not previously covered by the United Kingdom and Australian alcohol guideline groups.
  • Stakeholder consultation on the LRDGs: Summary of targeted consultations with key stakeholders (youth, women, Indigenous peoples, health professionals), and their specific needs and implementation requirements for updated guidelines.
  • Mathematical modelling: Summary of risk curves estimating lifetime risks of death, disabilities, years of life lost and disability-adjusted life years, according to different levels and patterns of alcohol consumption and the age and sex of consumers of alcohol.
  • Draft recommendations for knowledge mobilization of LRDGs: Draft recommendations on increasing public awareness of the updated LRDGs through knowledge mobilization.
  • Draft updated LRDGs: Draft updated LRDGs intended to inform alcohol use in Canadian society.
  • Public consultations: The Executive Committee is considering the possibility of public consultations on the draft updated LRDGs.
  • External review: External peer review of draft updated LRDGs.

This diagram will be updated regularly to reflect progress on the project.

 

Supporting Documents

Supporting Documents

Document name Date published Description
Update of Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Terms of Reference 2021 Outlines the terms of reference for the initiative to update Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Guidelines. Includes information on the project scope, governance, scientific expert panels, and roles and responsibilities.
Update of Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Source Guidelines 2021 Summarises the current Canadian Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol.
Update of Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Evaluation of Selected Guidelines 2021 Report presents evaluations of the current Canadian Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (2011), and guidelines from the United Kingdom (2016) and Australia (2020) using a standard instrument, the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II.
Update of Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Development of Research Questions 2021 Outlines the research questions to support the update of the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and the process used to develop them.
Update of Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Process and Timelines 2021 Interactive diagram providing an overview of the process to update Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and the progress of the project. This document is updated regularly.

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