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UVic-led project finds provinces aren’t fully enforcing their own alcohol health policies

BC given F grades in report arguing governments across Canada are valuing sales over public's wellbeing

Robyn Bell
May 20, 2023
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

UVic-led project finds provinces aren’t fully enforcing their own alcohol health policies

BC given F grades in report arguing governments across Canada are valuing sales over public's wellbeing

Robyn Bell
May 20, 2023
These researchers want bottles to come with health warning labels like cigarette boxes. Photo: Shannon Waters / Capital Daily
These researchers want bottles to come with health warning labels like cigarette boxes. Photo: Shannon Waters / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

UVic-led project finds provinces aren’t fully enforcing their own alcohol health policies

BC given F grades in report arguing governments across Canada are valuing sales over public's wellbeing

Robyn Bell
May 20, 2023
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UVic-led project finds provinces aren’t fully enforcing their own alcohol health policies
These researchers want bottles to come with health warning labels like cigarette boxes. Photo: Shannon Waters / Capital Daily

Researchers from the UVic-led Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation (CAPE) Project, have found that all provinces are failing to properly enforce health-oriented alcohol policies. It said they are focusing too much on improving sales and not providing substantial warnings about the risks of alcohol, including its link to several cancers.

BC received an F on almost every metric for an overall grade of 36%, while Manitoba was highest at 44% and Northwest Territories lowest at 32%. The federal government was at 37%.

CAPE’s grading system was based on how provinces handle 11 different alcohol policy domains, including pricing and taxation, physical availability, control system, marketing and advertising, health and safety messaging, and more.

“[These grades] reflect ‘red tape reduction’, ‘modernizing’ initiatives, and other erosions of public-health-focused alcohol policies we have seen in recent years,” said Dr. Tim Naimi, CISUR director and lead of the CAPE Project.

BC’s failing report card from the project

Recommendations include warning labels and reducing sale hours

CAPE said in a statement that “if governments were to implement the best existing policies consistently across Canada’s provinces and territories, they could score 80 per cent or an A-.”

CAPE’s recommendations include creating minimum prices tied to alcohol content, prioritizing government health and safety oversight rather than financial gain, reducing hours of sale, and mandating warning labels. Naimi also recommended the creation of a federal Alcohol Act to create more consistent guidelines across Canada.

New Canadian guidelines released this Jan. recommend consuming less than two drinks a week to lower health risks.

Capital Daily previously reported on these risks of alcohol; in that piece, UVic researcher Tim Stockwell compared the cancer risk of one drink to one cigarette.

As drinking rose during the pandemic, Stockwell criticized BC policies such as letting restaurants offer alcohol with takeout. Stockwell said raising alcohol prices would allow businesses to stay profitable while reducing how much people drink.

“This is about more than asking individuals to consider cutting down on their drinking,” said Naimi. “Yes, that can be important, but governments need to make changes to the broader drinking environment.”

The Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation (CAPE) 3.0 results by province and territory.
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Robyn Bell
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