February 1, 2018
Learn how provincial and territorial governments can establish minimum prices for standard servings of alcohol
Inside this alcohol policy pack
- Background evidence: Alcohol and cancer
- Evidence-informed alcohol policy actions to reduce alcohol consumption in Canada
- Key statistics: Alcohol consumption in Canada’s largest cities
- Key statistics: Alcohol consumption in provinces and territories
- Public perceptions: Alcohol and cancer
- Economic evidence to support alcohol policy
- Indicators to measure progress on alcohol policy
Minimum pricing on alcohol
Use pricing policies such as excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages1,2,3,4
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 Canada
Current actions in Canada
There is some adoption of evidence-informed policy action related to minimum pricing across Canada. Nearly all provinces (and none of the territories) have minimum pricing policies in place for the purchase of alcohol in retail and licensed establishments, with over half implementing pricing per standard drink. Only a few provinces, like Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec for beer only, review minimum prices on an annual basis and index those prices to inflation. No provinces or territories price alcohol above the consumer price index.
All provinces except Québec have minimum prices set for the sale and service of alcohol in licensed establishments.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have minimum pricing per standard drink in place, and in many cases, minimum prices vary by type of alcohol served. New Brunswick sets minimum pricing per ounce of alcohol served, which varies by type. Alberta sets minimum price per can, bottle and ounce of beer only.
All provinces except Alberta have minimum prices set for the sale of alcohol in retail establishments. Quebec only has minimum prices set for sale of beer at grocery stores.
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