Alcohol health warning labels: Local restrictions or bans

Learn how local governments can limit alcohol advertising and promotion by using health warnings on labels and menus

Inside this alcohol policy pack

Alcohol health warning labels

Restrict or ban alcohol advertising and promotions1,2,3

Implement health warning labels on alcohol productsa

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities

Current actions in Canada
Vancouver amended its License By-law in 2017 to require liquor serving establishments to display drink size and strength on their menu for all types of alcoholic drinks.

Local policy toolsb,c

  • Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)
  • Sign bylaws
  • Land use and zoning bylaws
  • Business license bylaws

Examples of local actionb,c
Municipalities can strengthen MAPs or introduce other bylaws to require establishments serving or selling alcohol to require signs or menu labelling with health information, such as Low Risk Drinking Guidelines and health risks.

Other bylaws, such as sign or zoning bylaws, municipalities can control the location, size and type of signs that are displayed in front of alcohol establishments and other places.

1- World Health Organization (2013). Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. Retrieved from:
2- Cancer Care Ontario (2016). Prevention System Quality Index. Retrieved from:
3- Public Health Ontario/Cancer Care Ontario (2012). Taking Action to Prevent Chronic Disease. Retrieved from:
a- Giesbrecht, N., Wettlaufer, A., April, N., Asbridge, M., Cukier, S., Mann, R., McAllister, J., Murie, A., Plamondon, L., Stockwell, T., Thomas, G., Thompson, K., & Vallance, K. (2013). Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Canada: A Comparison of Provincial Policies. Toronto: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
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