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Developing and Implementing Municipal Alcohol Policies

Developing and implementing Municipal Alcohol Policies

What is a Municipal Alcohol Policy?

A municipal alcohol policy (MAP) outlines the appropriate use of alcohol at an event or venue owned or managed by a municipality, and can be a key tool for building a community culture of moderation towards alcohol. A MAP aligns with provincial/territorial liquor laws and applies to community venues such as sporting events and festivals, parks and beaches, community centres and arenas.

Canada’s National Alcohol Strategy recommends that provincial governments and municipalities partner with community groups to develop MAPs to address local issues. Representatives of community groups and organizations for public health, law enforcement, recreation and tourism, and post-secondary campuses can work together with municipal staff to develop the policy. A MAP is part of a comprehensive approach to achieving a culture of moderation for alcohol consumption.

Function of a Municipal Alcohol Policy

A municipal alcohol policy can:

  • Help keep neighbourhoods safe and enjoyable, while addressing concerns about the risks and liability related to the use of alcohol;

  • Set the tone and expectations of a community towards alcohol consumption, and foster community ownership of that tone through community engagement;

  • Specify conditions governing the availability of alcohol and access to it within municipal facilities and boundaries; and

  • Support healthy lifestyles by starting conversations with community groups about the local culture surrounding alcohol and its positive and negative impacts.

A Role for Provinces and Territories

Provincial and territorial governments can use the resources below to encourage their municipalities to develop MAPs.

A Role for Municipalities

Municipalities can use the practical resources below to guide their community in developing a MAP.

Evaluating a Municipal Alcohol Policy

  • Evaluating Municipal Alcohol Policies (presentation from Public Health Ontario)

  • Gliksman, L., Douglas, R.R., Rylett, M., & Narbonne-Fortin, C. (1995). Reducing problems through municipal alcohol policies: the Canadian experiment in Ontario. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 2(2), 105–118.


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