Alcohol policies

Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians 18+ increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic due to schedule disruptions, stress, and boredom

COVID-19 and alcohol sales

  • Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians 18+ increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic due to schedule disruptions, stress, and boredom.1
  • Except PEI, every province and territory deemed alcohol as essential during the pandemic.2
  • The pandemic saw a loosening of alcohol policies including expanded hours of sale, delivery of alcohol, curbside pick-up, and drinking permitted in public parks.
  • Implementing stricter alcohol policies following the pandemic will reduce consumption and harms.3

Visit the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction for current data and updates.

Pandemic pick-up and delivery
During the pandemic, alcohol delivery and pick-up was expanded across several provinces and territories. Ontario and BC now allow alcohol to be delivered with the purchase of food, while Alberta allows for the delivery of alcohol alone.

Some have implemented permanent measures beyond the pandemic, including Newfoundland and Labrador, which has amended regulations to allow for alcohol delivery services indefinitely.


  • 1 - COVID-19 and Increased Alcohol Consumption: NANOS Poll Summary Report. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction; 2020. Cited 30 January 2021. Available from: https://www.ccsa.ca/ sites/default/files/2020-04/CCSA-NANOS-AlcoholConsumption-During-COVID-19-Report-2020-en.pdf
    2 - Stockwell T, Andreasson S, Cherpitel C, Chikritzhs T, Dangardt F, Holder H et al. The burden of alcohol on health care during COVID‐19. Drug and Alcohol Review. 2020;40(1):3-7
    3- Ibid.