In January 2023, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction released Canada's Guidance on Alcohol and Health, an update to replace 2011's Canada's Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.

Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health provides people of legal drinking age living in Canada with the information they need to make informed choices about their alcohol use.

According to the Guidance

See Infographic Summary

  • We now know that even a small amount of alcohol can be damaging to health.
  • The more alcohol you drink per week, the more the consequences add up:
    • 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.

When Zero’s the Limit

  • There are circumstances when no alcohol use is safest. For example, when:
  • Driving a motor vehicle;
  • Using machinery and tools;
  • Taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol;
  • Doing any kind of dangerous physical activity;
  • Being responsible for the safety of others; and
  • Making important decisions.

A Standard Drinks Means

341 ml (12 oz) of beer
5% alcohol


Cooler, cider, ready-to-drink
341 ml (12 oz) of drinks 5% alcohol


142 ml (5 oz) of wine
12% alcohol


Spirits (whisky, vodka, gin, etc.)
43 ml (1.5 oz) of spirits 40% alcohol

For more information on Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health:

help and support

If you need help or are concerned with someone else’s substance use, call:

Health Link at 811 or
1-866-332-2322 the Addiction Helpline
(available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)