Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is working to curve alcohol-related harms in the region and have endorsed a letter supporting new labels on alcohol.
In a bombshell that had many Canadians talking honestly about their relationship with alcohol, new guidelines called Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health recommended having no more than two drinks per week. Any more and the risks of health concerns increase.
Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health replaced Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, which was originally issued in 2011. The previous guidelines recommended a limit of 15 alcoholic drinks a week for men and 10 for women.
At the most recent HPPH Board of Health meeting, the board voted to endorse a letter supporting Bill S-254: An Act to Amend the Food and Drugs Act in response to that new information. Specifically, Bill S-254 will implement warning labels on alcoholic beverages.
In the report on the draft letter, staff at HPPH wrote that alcohol consumption is a complex public health issue and one that can be partly addressed by increasing awareness.
“Consumers have a right to clear and accessible information about the health and safety of the products they buy,” the report reads. “Increasing public awareness on how much a standard drink is and risks of alcohol consumption can help consumers make informed decisions.”
The letter comes from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. It notes that the bill aligns with Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health and recommends mandatory labelling of all alcoholic beverages with risk levels.
The letter notes that alcohol consumption is an ongoing concern in the region, especially when it comes to youth.
According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, from 2015 to 2020 over 21 per cent of adults aged 19 or older in Huron Perth consumed seven or more drinks in a week. That is significantly higher than the provincial average, which is a little over 16 per cent.
The HPPH Board of Health remains committed to collaborating with other public health units and other organizations to reduce and prevent alcohol-related harms.
The letter is being sent to the Minister of Health, MP Jean-Yves Duclos.