Strategies to reduce alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada: A comparison of provincial policies

  • Norman Giesbrecht Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
  • Ashley Wettlaufer Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
  • Stephanie Simpson University of Western Ontario
  • Nicole April Institut national de santé publique du Québec
  • Mark Asbridge Dalhousie University
  • Samantha Cukier Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Robert E. Mann Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
  • Janet McAllister Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Andrew Murie Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada
  • Chris Pauley University of Victoria
  • Laurie Plamondon Institut national de santé publique du Québec
  • Timothy Stockwell University of Victoria
  • Gerald Thomas Okanagan Research
  • Kara Thompson University of Victoria
  • Kate Vallance University of Victoria
Keywords: alcohol policies, interprovincial comparison, Canada, knowledge transfer

Abstract

Giesbrecht, N., Wettlaufer, A., Simpson, S., April, N., Asbridge, M., Cukier, S., Mann, R., McAllister, J., Murie, A., Pauley, C., Plamondon, L., Stockwell, T., Thomas, G., Thompson, K., & Vallance, K. (2016). Strategies to reduce alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada: A comparison of provincial policies. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 5(2), 33-45. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v5i2.221

Aims: To compare Canadian provinces across 10 research-based alcohol policy and program dimensions.


Design and Measures: The 10 Canadian provinces were assessed on the following 10 policy dimensions: alcohol pricing; alcohol control system; physical availability; drinking and driving; marketing and advertising; legal drinking age; screening, brief intervention, and referrals; server training, challenge, and refusal programs; provincial alcohol strategy; warning labels and signs. Data were collected from official documents, including provincial legislation, regulations, and policy, and strategy documents. Three international experts on alcohol policy contributed to refining the protocol. Provincial scores were independently determined by two team members along a 10-point scale for each dimension, and the scores were expressed as a percentage of the ideal. Weighting of dimensions according to scope of impact and effectiveness was applied to obtain the final scores. National and provincial scores were calculated for each dimension and consolidated into overall averages.

Findings: Overall, the consolidated national mean is 47.2% of the ideal, with Ontario scoring highest at 55.9%, and Québec lowest at 36.2%. Across dimensions, Legal Drinking Age and Challenge and Refusal Programs scored highest at 75% and 61%, respectively, while Warning Labels and Signs scored lowest at 18% of the ideal. Pricing, rated third highest among dimensions at 57%, should nevertheless remain a priority for improvement, given it is weighted highest in terms of effectiveness and scope.

Conclusions and Implications: Policy dimension scores vary among the provinces, with substantial room for improvement in all. Since spring 2013, several provinces have taken steps to implement specific alcohol policies. Concerted action involving multiple stakeholders and alcohol policies is required to reduce the burden of alcohol problems across Canada.

Author Biographies

Norman Giesbrecht, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Social & Epidemiological Research Dept., Toronto, Ontario Canada

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ashley Wettlaufer, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Social & Epidemiological Research Dept., Toronto, Ontario Canada
Stephanie Simpson, University of Western Ontario
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
Nicole April, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec City, Québec, Canada
Mark Asbridge, Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University, Departments of Community Health and Epidemiology, and Emergency Medicine, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Samantha Cukier, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center on Alcohol Marketing & Youth, Baltimore, USA
Robert E. Mann, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Social & Epidemiological Research Dept., Toronto, Ontario Canada

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Janet McAllister, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Health Promotion and Prevention, London, Ontario, Canada
Andrew Murie, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Chris Pauley, University of Victoria
Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Laurie Plamondon, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec City, Québec, Canada
Timothy Stockwell, University of Victoria
Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Gerald Thomas, Okanagan Research
Okanagan Research, Summerland, British Columbia, Canada
Kara Thompson, University of Victoria
Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Kate Vallance, University of Victoria
Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Published
2016-07-19
How to Cite
Giesbrecht, N., Wettlaufer, A., Simpson, S., April, N., Asbridge, M., Cukier, S., Mann, R. E., McAllister, J., Murie, A., Pauley, C., Plamondon, L., Stockwell, T., Thomas, G., Thompson, K., & Vallance, K. (2016). Strategies to reduce alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada: A comparison of provincial policies. The International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, 5(2), 33-45. https://doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v5i2.221
Section
Papers