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Pricing of alcohol to reduce alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada: A comparison of provincial policies and harm-reduction opportunities. Public Health 2014, Toronto May 26-29. Presentation overview. Background Public health informed pricing practices

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Presentation Transcript

Pricing of alcohol to reduce alcohol-related harms and costs in Canada:A comparison of provincial policies and harm-reduction opportunities

Public Health 2014, Toronto

May 26-29

presentation overview
Presentation overview
  • Background
  • Public health informed pricing practices
  • Detailed results for the jurisdictions
  • Overall ratings for the pricing dimension
  • Opportunities for improvement
  • Recent changes in pricing policies
  • Governments maintain control of alcohol sales for two main reasons:
    • Revenue generation
    • Control consumption, harm & costs
  • Taxation & pricing policies provide one of the most potent means of influencing outcomes in both of these dimensions.
  • Pricing policies can serve revenue & cost goals simultaneously (i.e., increase revenue & reduce consumption/harm/costs).
public health informed pricing practices
Public health-informed pricing practices
  • Research shows that regular/heavy drinkers tend to gravitate toward less expensive alcohol.
  • The new generation of pricing policies move beyond “blunt” interventions that increase overall prices by:
    • Implementing minimum (floor) prices
    • Indexing prices (including minimum prices) to inflation
    • Adjusting prices based on alcohol content
  • These price policies are more targeted because they tend to increase & maintain prices at the lower end of the price spectrum.
overall results for pricing
Overall results for pricing

Top ranking

Middle ranking

Bottom ranking

Average score

results cont
Results (cont.)

Good practices

  • Nearly all jurisdictions have implemented min. prices.
  • A few jurisdictions have begun to adjust their min. prices for alcohol content (by beverage category).
  • A few jurisdictions index prices to inflation in regulation or legislation.

Areas for improvement

  • Most provinces sell products below min. prices

(e.g. delisted products, FOP sales).

  • Off-premise prices from BC, AB, ON, QC and PEI, have not kept pace with inflation since 2006.
recent developments positive
Recent developments (positive)
  • BC just conducted a review of its alcohol policies & is talking about implementing minimum prices for bars, clubs & restaurants for the first time.
  • Manitoba in currently reviewing its alcohol policies & intends to implement minimum prices for more products & adjust them based on alcohol content…may be close to the optimal policy of Minimum Unit Price (MUP).
recent developments negative
Recent developments (negative)
  • News story from QC noting declining sales to young adults & suggesting that prices may be too high & should be lowered!
  • Some of the policy changes implemented under recent alcohol policy “modernization” agendas serve to increase availability (e.g., allowing alcohol in movie theatres & salons) so may offset some of the benefits of improved pricing policies.
  • One jurisdiction has opened several discount alcohol outlets that specialize in the sale of delisted products at cut-rate prices.
contact info
Contact info

Norman Giesbrecht, Ph. D. (Project P.I.)

Senior Scientist Emeritus

Social & Epidemiological Research Dept.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

33 Russell St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1

Phone: (416) 535-8501 ext. 6895


Link to the main report: