Key statistics: Alcohol consumption in Canada’s largest cities

Access data on alcohol consumption in major cities across Canada

NewUpdated alcohol policies report published in June 2021

Key statistics

  • Approximately 80 per cent of Canadian adults, aged 18 or older, consumed alcohol in the past year1
  • Regional and municipal rates of alcohol consumption above cancer guidelines range from 5 per cent in Toronto, Ontario to 15 per cent in Sherbrooke, Québec2
  • Variation in alcohol consumption is present across urban, rural and remote areas in Canada3

Alcohol consumption above cancer guidelines in Canada’s largest cities from 2015 and 2016

This map of Canada highlights percentages in large cities where alcohol consumption is above cancer guidelines
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines for cancer recommends no more than 2 drinks per day for men and no more than 1 drink per day for women.
Data on alcohol consumption should be interpreted with caution, as data currently available does not distinguish between “never” and “former” drinkers in alcohol abstinence rates. As such, rates of alcohol consumption and consumption above cancer guidelines may be higher than rates reported.

Data table: Alcohol consumption above cancer guidelines in Canada’s largest cities (2015/2016)

Large Metropolitan Area Performance Ranka,b Percentage of adults 18 years or older who exceeded cancer guidelines for alcohol consumption Number of respondents
City of Toronto, Ontario 1 4.8E 109,000
Greater Toronto 2 5.1 241,200
Regina, Saskatchewan 3 6.2E 11,400
Greater Vancouver, British Columbia 4 6.3 125,600
Windsor, Ontario 5 7.0E 18,400
City of Ottawa, Ontario 6 7.5E 55,000
Edmonton, Alberta 7 7.6E 77,600
City of Vancouver, British Columbia 8 7.8E 43,200
Greater Ottawa, Ontario and Québec 9 8.3E 85,400
Urban Prince Edward Island 10 8.6E 6,000
Greater Montréal, Québec 11 8.7 276,000
Victoria, British Columbia 12 8.9E 26,200
Calgary, Alberta 13 9.1 103,400
Winnipeg, Manitoba 14 9.2 56,400
Kitchener Cambridge Waterloo, OntarioT 15 9.3E 35,800
St. Catharines, OntarioT 15 9.3E 31,200
Hamilton, OntarioT 16 9.6E 56,400
St. John’s, NewfoundlandT 16 9.6E 16,400
Saskatoon, SaskatchewanT 17 9.7E 22,400
Halifax, Nova ScotiaT 17 9.7E 32,200
City of Montréal, Québec 18 9.9 157,000
Moncton, New Brunswick 19 10E 12,800
London, Ontario 20 10.4E 40,800
Oshawa, Ontario 21 12E 41,200
Québec, Québec 22 13.1 83,200
Sherbrooke, Québec 23 15.2E 26,400

E: Interpret with caution due to large variability in the estimates
T: Tie in ranking
a. Percentages are ranked from the lowest to highest

1- Martineau, F, Tyner, E, Lorenc, T, Petticrew, M, and Lock, K. (2013). Population-level interventions to reduce alcohol-related
harm: An overview of systematic reviews. Preventive Medicine, 57(4), 278-96.
2- Burton, R, Henn, C, Lavoie, D, O’Connor, R, Perkins, C, Sweeney, K et al. (2017). A rapid review of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alcohol control policies: an English perspective. Lancet, 389, 1558-80.
3- Ibid