Disincentive pricing for higher alcohol content beverages

Learn how governments can control prices of higher-alcohol-content beverages

Disincentive pricing for higher-alcohol-content beverages in cities

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

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

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities
Low

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.

Disincentive pricing for higher alcohol content beverages in provinces and territories

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

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

Degree of adoption in Canada
Low

Current actions in Canada
Adoption of evidence-informed policy action related to disincentive-pricing policies for higher alcohol content beverages across Canada is low. Some provinces have volumetric pricing policies in place that increase the price of alcohol based on the amount purchased.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan must increase or decrease the price of alcohol served in licensed establishments in proportion to the difference between the volume of alcohol in the serving and the volume outlined by minimum pricing policies of standard drink sizes.

New Brunswick prices alcohol on a per ounce basis, and Alberta prices beer on a per ounce basis, causing the drink price to increase in proportion to the amount served. In addition, Ontario has volumetric pricing for the sale of alcohol in retail establishments and has implemented additional taxes on beer, wine and spirits which are based on the amount purchased.

No territories have volumetric pricing in place.