Hours of sale: Local regulation of availability of alcohol

Learn about how local governments can limit hours of sale for alcohol purchases

Inside this alcohol policy pack

Hours of sale

Regulate commercial and public availability of alcohola,1,2,3,4

Limits on hours of sale.a
Ensure there is no increase in hours of sale1,3,4

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities

Current actions in Canada
None of the 31 municipalities limited hours of sale beyond usual hours of alcohol sales, for example, 11 am to 2 am. Many jurisdictions have exceptions that allow for extended hours of alcohol sales, for instance, Vancouver extends hours of sale using several bylaws: License Bylaw, Business Premises Regulation of Hours Bylaw and Winter Games Bylaw.

Local policy toolsb,c

  • Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)
  • Development agreements
  • Business license bylaws

Examples of local actionb,c
Municipalities can strengthen their MAP, development agreements or other bylaws to maintain and reduce hours of operation for a business that serves alcohol, such as requiring earlier closure Sunday through Thursday.

1- World Cancer Research Fund International (2009). Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Policy_Report.pdf
2- World Health Organization (2013). Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. Retrieved from:
3- Cancer Care Ontario (2016). Prevention System Quality Index. Retrieved from: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/statistical-reports/prevention-system-quality-index
4- Public Health Ontario/Cancer Care Ontario (2012). Taking Action to Prevent Chronic Disease. Retrieved from: https://www.ccohealth.ca/en/report-taking-action-to-prevent-chronic-disease
a- Community Preventive Services Task Force (2009) Systematic Review: Alcohol – Excessive Consumption: Maintaining Limits on Hours of Sale
b- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2013). Making the case for supporting local alcohol policy in Ontario
c- University of Victoria (2010). Helping Municipal Governments Reduce Alcohol-related Harms