Minimum pricing on alcohol: Local pricing policies

Learn how local governments can establish minimum prices for standard servings of alcohol

Inside this alcohol policy pack

Minimum pricing on alcohol

Issue
Use pricing policies such as excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages1,2,3,4

Action
Establish minimum pricing per standard drink across all alcoholic beverages indexed to inflation, and maintain average prices at or above the consumer price index3,4

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities
Low

Current actions in Canada
Only two of 31 local governments in Canada have enacted pricing policies, which may reflect the lack of provincial pricing policies in British Columbia:

  • Vancouver’s License Bylaw requires licensed liquor establishments to refrain from selling, or offering for sale, an alcoholic beverage at a retail price of less than $3 per standard serving, inclusive of taxes, being:
    • 1 fluid ounce of spirits having an alcoholic content of 17 per cent or more, served on its own or in a mixed beverage
    • 5 fluid ounces of wine having an alcoholic content of 1.5 per cent or more
    • 20 fluid ounces of beer, cider or a cooler, having an alcoholic content of 1.5 per cent or more
    • Calculate pro rata the minimum price of an alcoholic beverage containing a fraction of one standard serving
  • Victoria’s Business License Bylaw prohibits licensed establishments from selling, or offering for sale, alcoholic beverages at a retail price of less than $3 per standard serving, inclusive of taxes. The minimum price of an alcoholic beverage containing a fraction of one standard serving is to be calculated pro rata. A standard serving is:
    • 1 fluid ounce of spirits having an alcoholic content of 17 per cent or more, served on its own or in a mixed beverage
    • 5 fluid ounces of wine having an alcoholic content of 1.5 per cent or more
    • 12 fluid ounces of beer, cider or a cooler, having an alcoholic content of 1.5 per cent or more

Local policy toolsa,b

  • Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)
  • Business license bylaws

Examples of local actiona,b
Strengthen MAPs or introduce other bylaws to impose minimum pricing laws, mark-ups and discounting violations.

References
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:
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/94384/1/9789241506236_eng.pdf?ua=1
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- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (2013). Making the case for supporting local alcohol policy in Ontario
b- University of Victoria (2010). Helping Municipal Governments Reduce Alcohol-related Harms