Disincentive pricing for higher-alcohol-content beverages: Local pricing policies

Learn how local governments can control prices of higher-alcohol-content beverages to support reduced consumption

Inside this alcohol policy pack

Disincentive pricing for higher-alcohol-content beverages

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

Adopt disincentive pricing policies for higher-alcohol-content beverages3,4

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities

Current actions in Canada
Very few local governments have adopted disincentive pricing policies for higher-alcohol-content beverages. A couple of MAPs address high-alcohol-content beverages in other ways:

  • Toronto MAP prohibits high-alcohol beers, over 5.6 per cent, on municipal property. In addition, the policy requires at least one-third of alcohol volume available at events must be of low-alcohol content.
  • London MAP requires permit holders to ensure that 30 per cent of the alcoholic beverages offered consist of low-alcohol options, like low-alcohol beer, light wine and low-alcohol spirits.

Local policy toolsa,b

  • Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)
  • Business license bylaws

Examples of local actiona,b
Strengthen MAPs to require lower-alcohol-content beer and coolers, with overall goal of reducing volume of absolute alcohol consumed per capita.

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- 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