TORONTO – A group of researchers is sounding the alarm over the Ontario government’s planned changes to alcohol policy, saying the relaxed rules will lead to more consumption that can bring an increase in crime, hospitalizations and even death.
The warning comes in a report from Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research.
Titled “Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation,” the report finds that until the new rules were announced, Ontario had some of the most effective alcohol policies in the country when it came to reducing harm.
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However, researchers say the changes recently announced by the Progressive Conservative government – including wider availability, increased hours of sale and legalizing tailgate parties – will lead to increased harms.
Norman Giesbrecht, a scientist emeritus with CAMH and one of the report’s lead researchers, is calling for some “sober second thought” from the provincial government.
He says the Tories’ proposals appear to prioritize convenience over protecting public health.