Alcohol & Safety: A Conversation on Community Policies

Join Vancouver Coastal Health and the BC Alliance for Healthy Living on Thursday November 16th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PST as we talk about alcohol consumption and what we can do to keep our communities healthy amid more relaxed alcohol policies.

In 2021, close to one in five Canadians reported consuming five or more drinks on days they consumed alcohol, according to reports published by Statistics Canada. During the pandemic, alcohol sales rose at the fastest pace in a decade, with BC recording a 22% increase in alcohol consumption.

This increase in alcohol use is alarming, especially given that most people and policy makers are unaware of the chronic disease risks from alcohol.

Harmful alcohol use is a causal factor in more than 200 diseases, injuries and other health conditions, according to the World Health Organization. Besides car crashes and domestic violence, excessive alcohol use can lead to cancers including cancer of the liver, mouth and throat, colon and rectum, and breast cancer in women. Excess alcohol use can also lead to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease, costing the federal government $5.4 billion in associated health care costs in 2017 alone, according to the Canadian Public Health Association.

Drinks during social gatherings and celebrations are common for many of us, but the prevalence and normalization of regular alcohol consumption in our society highlights the need for effective policy to reduce health harms.

Join the conversation on Thursday November 16th to learn more about how we can work together to support our communities.

Register here:


Dr. Mark Lysyshyn is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), where he works closely with the Harm Reduction and Population Health Programs. He is a specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health.

Kate Vallance is a research associate at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) at the University of Victoria. She has worked in coordination and management of a wide variety of alcohol and other drug research projects at both the local and national level, including the Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation (CAPE) Project and the Northern Territories Alcohol Labels Study, among many other projects.

Councillor Tom Stere is a councillor with the District of Tofino and has served on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board since 2020. He is a Rescue Specialist with the Canadian Coast Guard and worked with the Clayoquot Biosphere Project as a Research Stations Manager. He helped establish Tofino Sea Kayaking in 1988. Tom is a board member of the Tofino Harbour Authority and the Rainforest Education Society.