Ever-Changing Rules

Beer pouringSeems like Ontario isn’t the only place where the rules keep changing when it comes to alcohol.

Sadly, perhaps, it seems many of these decisions are linked directly to the want of revenue or growth, when we know that the costs from alcohol-related harms such as chronic disease, law-enforcement and addiction completely out-pace taxation revenue from alcohol.

In short, using alcohol to drive tourism or entertainment costs us all, as citizens and taxpayers. Yet, politicians and leaders continue to pursue exactly that. A article on CBC news talks about how local leaders are trying hard to generate new revenue in certain Montreal entertainment districts by extending bar hours to 6am.  This question was also posted to Toronto Mayoral Candidates. Should Toronto extend last call for alcohol to 4:00am? Makes me wonder if the 24/7 tavern is coming up next.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, provincial legislation has been amended to provide for renewed ‘happy hours’, lax alcohol rules at music festivals, and allowing grocery stores to sell booze. This is clearly against recommendations from health officials, noting that these changes will increase accessibility and therefore harms, and therefore costs – to the province and to individuals.

It’s nothing new for politicians to create financial incentives for select markets, to induce growth in certain sectors. To do so with alcohol is creating growth with the consequence of diminishing health.

Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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