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Sale of Beer & Wine in Grocery Stores

March 27, 2015

OPHA’s Concerns about Possible Sale of Beer and Wine in Grocery Stores 

The Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) was distressed to read about possible changes to the sale of beer and wine in Ontario. It was worrisome that little mention was made about the risks and potential harms. Alcohol contributes substantially to chronic diseases, injuries and social problems. The health care, enforcement and other social costs are estimated to be over $5 billion a year, well above the revenue generated. Experience in other provinces shows that increasing availability and privatization of alcohol, leads to an increase in consumption and a concomitant increase in harms. A recent blog by Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, Senior Scientist Emeritus, Public Health and Regulatory Policy Section entitled Selling Alcohol in Grocery Stores: Hidden Risks and Alternative Options outlines these repercussions in more detail.

While OPHA recognizes the government’s need to raise revenues as well as support greater availability of Ontario products, safer strategies could be implemented.  A provincial Alcohol Strategy, along with an analysis of the societal costs of any changes to alcohol sales, would be a welcome next step.

For more information , check out these background documents:

Submission to the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets:The role of the LCBO in reducing alcohol‐related harm in Ontario , Center for Addiction and Mental Health  

Too High a Cost A Public Health Approach to Alcohol Policy in Canada, CPHA 2011