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Ford government’s proposed alcohol policies will increase harms, researchers say

Click to play video: 'Ontario Budget 2019: PCs loosening laws around alcohol' Ontario Budget 2019: PCs loosening laws around alcohol
WATCH ABOVE: (April 11) The Ontario PCs announced in their first budget that changes would be put in place to expand the sale of beer and wine to more stores, allow public drinking, and give a tailgating permit – Apr 11, 2019

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.

READ MORE: Doug Ford defends private alcohol sales, says media is misleading public

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.

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.

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READ MORE: PC government loosens Ontario booze, gambling, rules in first budget

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.

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