OAKVILLE, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/14/13 -- MADD Canada is pleased to share its newly-updated alcohol policy paper, "Provincial Liquor Boards: Meeting the Best Interests of Canadians." The paper supports the role of provincial liquor boards and outlines the negative health and public safety impacts associated with privatized alcohol sales.
In Canada, all provinces except Alberta have provincially-run liquor boards which oversee the distribution and sale of alcohol. Alberta's alcohol sales are conducted by private retailers. Semi-privatized systems exist in: Quebec, which has provincially-run liquor stores but also allows the sale of beer and wine in corner stores and other retail locations; and in British Columbia where alcohol is sold in both private outlets and government run stores.
"There is ongoing pressure in some provinces to privatize alcohol sales and allow beer and wine to be sold in convenience stores and other retail locations," said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. "There are some who suggest there is no negative impact of selling alcohol alongside pop and milk, but the research and experiences in Canada and other countries tell a very different story. Alcohol is no ordinary commodity and it should not be sold as one."
Alcohol is linked with more than 65 medical conditions and is a contributing factor in injuries and deaths caused by illness, impaired driving, homicides, suicides, falls, drowning, assaults, fires and other adverse events that threaten public safety and community well-being.
The policy paper outlines Canadian and international research which clearly and consistently shows that privatized systems result in increased access to alcohol which in turn leads to increased alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems in society. In British Columbia, for example, researchers found that areas with more private stores than government-run stores had significantly higher rates of alcohol-related deaths involving local residents. There was a 27.5% increase in alcohol-related deaths for every extra private liquor store per 1,000 British Columbians.
"MADD Canada strongly supports the provincial liquor corporation model as the best way to regulate sales of alcohol," Mr. Murie said. "These models are the best choice for protecting the public interest while meeting consumer needs."
Provincial liquor boards regulate access to alcohol through outlet locations, limits on hours of operation, minimum pricing and taxes. Provincial liquor boards have intrinsic controls, comprehensive staff training programs and extensive social responsibility programs to protect the public and prevent the sale of alcohol to minors and intoxicated customers.
It is not only MADD Canada which supports the government-controlled model of alcohol sales; the World Health Organization, Canada's National Alcohol Strategy and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have stated that government-controlled systems of liquor sales are the best option for controlling alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm in society.
"As elected officials are faced with questions about privatizing alcohol sales, we would ask that they consider the impact it would have if the number of alcohol sales outlets in their communities were doubled, tripled or more," Mr. Murie said. "The focus should not be on deregulation of alcohol sales, but rather on maintaining and building on the current system which protects the safety of Canadians while meeting customer needs."
For more information, please see MADD Canada's paper, Provincial Liquor Boards: Meeting the Best Interests of Canadians, in the Resource Library on MADD Canada's web site at www.madd.ca.
About MADD Canada
MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. For more information, visit www.madd.ca.
Chief Executive Officer
1-800-665-6233, ext. 224
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