Alcohol advertising and promotion: Local restrictions or bans

Learn how local governments can limit exposure to alcohol advertising

Inside this alcohol policy pack

Alcohol advertising and promotion

Restrict or ban alcohol advertising and promotions1,2,3

Enforce and expand regulation of alcohol advertising content and formats2

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities

Current actions in Canada
A few local governments across Canada use a variety of bylaws to regulate or restrict alcohol advertising and, or promotions:

  • Saskatoon Transit Advertising Policy prohibits alcohol advertisements on transit. The Recreation Facilities Policy restricts alcohol advertising at recreation facilities.
  • Hamilton’s MAP prohibits advertising of alcohol beverage names, brands or manufacturers at events frequented by youth.
  • Halifax’s MAP requires approval of alcohol advertising on municipal property, including transit, and inclusion of messages about consumption of alcohol and options for safe transportation in accordance with Low Risk Drinking Guidelines. In addition, the policy restricts alcohol ads, promotion of products and brands, or distribution of promotional items on municipal property except by permit or permanent liquor license.
  • Ottawa’s MAP does not permit marketing practices that encourage increased or immoderate consumption, such as oversized drinks, double shots of spirits, drinking contests, liquor raffles and volume discounts. In addition, no alcohol advertising is permitted on municipal premises frequented by youth, unless Director approval is received.
  • Brampton’s MAP bans alcohol at events where the focus is on youth under 19, minor sports events and street and block parties.
  • Caledon’s MAP bans alcohol permits for events for youth, including minor sport events.

Local policy toolsa,b

  • Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)
  • Parks and recreation bylaws
  • Sponsorship bylaws and policy
  • Sign bylaws
  • Public transit bylaws
  • Land use and zoning bylaws
  • Business licence bylaws

Examples of local actiona,b
Municipalities can strengthen MAPs or introduce other bylaws to restrict or prohibit the advertising and promotion of alcohol on municipal owned land, facilities and, or at municipal events. Strengthen MAPs or introduce other bylaws to prohibit advertising and conducting Happy Hour sales and other discounts. Through 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- 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