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Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

November 8, 2022

Drinking is a personal choice. If you choose to drink, these guidelines can help you decide when, where, why and how.

For these guidelines, “a drink” means:

  • Beer 341 ml (12 oz.) 5% alcohol content
  • Cider/ Cooler 341 ml (12 oz.) 5% alcohol content
  • Wine 142 ml (5 oz.) 12% alcohol content
  • Distilled Alcohol (rye, gin, rum, etc.) 43 ml (1.5 oz.) 40% alcohol content

Your Limits

Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:

  • 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days
  • 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days
  • Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit.

Special Occasions 

Reduce your risk of injury and harm by drinking no more than 3 drinks (for women) or 4 drinks (for men) on any single occasion. Plan to drink in a safe environment. Stay within the weekly limits outlined above in Your limits.

When Zero’s the Limit 

Do not drink when you are: 

  • driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools
  • Taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
  • Doing any kind of dangerous physical activity
  • Living with mental or physical health problems
  • Living with alcohol dependence
  • Pregnant or planning to be pregnant
  • Responsible for the safety of others
  • Making important decisions

Pregnant? Zero is Safest 

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or about to breastfeed, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.

Delay Your Drinking

Alcohol can harm the way the body and brain develop. Teens should speak with their parents about drinking. If they choose to drink, they should do so under parental guidance; never more than 1–2 drinks at a time, and never more than 1–2 times per week. They should plan ahead, follow local alcohol laws and consider the Safer drinking tips listed here. 

Youth in their late teens to age 24 years should never exceed the daily and weekly limits outlined in Your limits. 

Safer Drinking Tips 

  • Set limits for yourself and stick to them
  • Drink slowly. Have no more than 2 drinks in any 3 hours.
  • For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink.
  • Eat before and while you are drinking
  • Always consider your age, body weight and health problems that might suggest lower limits.
  • While drinking may provide health benefits for certain groups of people, do not start to drink or increase your drinking for health benefits.

Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction