Canadian safe drinking guidelines

Marc J. Bernard
4 min readDec 28, 2021

When a person is living with another whose drinking has become a burden or if you think your drinking may be a bit much, please keep reading.

Alcohol has been around much longer than one may suppose. Truth be told it dates back to around 7000–6000 BCE, by the use of chemical analysis, it was discovered in some recovered pottery a mixture of rice, honey and other fruit or grapes. So, alcohol use is nothing new. Its production however is. The amount of wine, beer and hard liquor that is produced and distributed amongst the population has never been greater. Research into the subject revealed that the alcohol industry is expected to grow annually by 9.6% (CAGR) between 2021 and 2025.

According to the website, the statistical analysis of beer production of 12 oz bottles for Canada is a staggering 6.2 billion bottles per year. And the consumption of said alcohol, beer, is 5.8 billion bottles annually by Canadians. As for wine bottles consumed annually by Canadians rank in at 650 million bottles. Considering that in 2017 the population of Canada was 36.5 million it's not hard to see the big business in alcohol distribution. In viewing these statistics of production and consumption of alcohol whether beer or wine, it does not take into account the hard liquors, like vodka, whiskey, gin, etc. There are some answers as to why this level of drinking is so high in our country. Let’s look at what Health Canada would consider being acceptable or standard or even reasonable but is stated as “low-risk”. This however does not mean “no-risk” as any amount can have a health risk.

According to Health Canada, these are some of the guidelines in regard to drinking. For instance, as part of the guidelines for consumption limits, it states that a woman could consume 10 standard 5oz glass of wine (at 12% alcohol) drinks per week. A man should limit his alcohol to no more than 15 drinks per week. It is understood that these will vary based on the concentration of alcohol in the drink being taken. Looking at this from a standpoint of the amount of trouble alcohol causes to self, family, friends, the workplace, insurance co. Etc., is it worth it? Nowhere in these guidelines does Health Canada condone that one should drink or that it is acceptable to drink. They only point to a general guideline as to the low-risk factor.

Now, have you ever lived with an alcoholic? Do you know someone who drinks too much? If so, which most of us do know, ask yourself this; Did the person always drink this much? Most likely your answer will be no. Usually, you can recall a time when the person only had a social drink now and then. Or they would maybe have a few glasses of wine at some special event, etc. So, what happened? Like any toxic substance, it is entering the body, and some of the toxins will be released by various means of secretion but what of the toxic particles at a molecular level? It simply means that particles do remain in the body even if one vomits, urinates, and drinks lots of water. It has been demonstrated that toxic particles will linger in the fatty tissues. This can accumulate making the body crave more, more often, and in increasingly larger quantities. This would explain one facet of the increasing desire to drink.

It may be of interest to someone who is attempting to help a loved one who drinks too much or is on their way to full alcoholism what is really contributing to this state. The largest contribution to this social downgrade is simply the agreement that it is okay. Organizations such as MAAD, AA, NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism) have been dedicating their time to bring some sanity into a society burdened with this plague. The viewpoints on treatment are many, the variation of address is as diverse as there are people. The bottom line is that alcohol is a choice, drugs are a choice. The only exception is the alcohol-abusing mother while pregnant. The unborn child did not have a choice. This may be the sole cause for the continued aberration of alcoholism in our world today. There are many kids that grew up with an alcoholic father who does not drink. There are also those whose mothers did not drink until after birth and don’t drink themselves. But the reverse is equally true. This can be easily concluded by straight observation. It does not require years of study and degrees to demonstrate that any child has a chance at a drug and alcohol-free life. And the majority of the burden will fall with the parents giving the right example. The rest is society as a whole to show the right path.

I ask that you make the change today, break the vicious chain of showing our future generation how it is “okay” that mom, dad, aunt June, or Uncle Frank gets drunk. Stop the ongoing idolization of people drinking and doing stupid things. There is absolutely nothing endearing about someone vomiting over a toilet or being rushed to the ER for alcohol poisoning. Ask yourself, what am I willing to do to change the future?




Marc J. Bernard

Marc Bernard works as a professional addiction counselor. Author and specialist in human behavior; specializing in substance abuse.