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Canada’s Alcohol Drinking Guidelines States Any Level of Consumption Increases Risks

Revised guidelines provide information on alcohol and related health risks

PORT HOPE, ON (February 1, 2023) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge, District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) would like to advise residents that the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) published their Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health with updated thresholds on alcohol usage as a replacement to the 2011 Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDGs). 

Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health provides adults who choose to drink with the information they need to make well-informed and responsible decisions about their alcohol consumption. The initiative began in July 2020 and was led by the CCSA to update Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. The two-and-a-half-year process resulted in the creation of Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, which replaces the LRDGs. 
“What we can say for sure is that the more you drink, the more harmful it can be to your overall health,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer for the HKPR District Health Unit. “By choosing to limit your alcohol consumption you can reduce your risks of alcohol-related injuries and certain chronic diseases, including cancer.” 
According to data collected from the Canadian Community Health Survey regarding alcohol consumption 42.2 per cent of residents within the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County have reported consuming three or more drinks per week.  

The updated guidance document presents evidence that less alcohol consumption is better and that any level of alcohol consumption will increase the potential for long-term health risks including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and alcohol dependency. According to Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health key points from the guidance include: 

  • There is a continuum of risk associated with weekly alcohol use where the risk of harm is:
    • 0 drinks per week — Not drinking has benefits, such as better health, and better sleep.
    • 2 standard drinks or less per week — You are likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others at this level.
    • 3–6 standard drinks per week — Your risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases at this level.
    • 7 standard drinks or more per week — Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases significantly at this level.
  • Each additional standard drink radically increases the risk of alcohol-related consequences.
  • Consuming more than 2 standard drinks per occasion is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence.
  • When pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there is no known safe amount of alcohol use.
  • When breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest.
  • No matter where you are on the continuum, for your health, less alcohol is better.

For more information and related reports please see Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, Public Summary: Drinking Less Is Better ( brochure. 


For media inquiries contact:

Ashley Beaulac, Manager of Communications, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1212, or Leslie McLaughlin, Public Health Nurse – Healthy Communities, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577 ext. 2277,  

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