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Drugs: education, prevention and policy, Vol. 2, No.2, 1995


Reducing Problems Through Municipal Alcohol Policies: the Canadian experiment in Ontario

LOUIS GLIKSMAN, RONALD R. DOUGLAS, MARGARET RYLETT & CLAIRE NARBONNE-FORTIN Addiction Research Foundation, The Gordon J. Mogenson Building, Ontario N6G 4X8, Canada


Collip Circle, London,

In Canada, policy governing the consumption of alcohol is administered by provincial governments. The province of Ontario grants municipalities the local option to sell or not sell alcohol. Increasingly, Ontario municipalities are applying this option to their municipally-owned or managed facilities in an attempt to reduce problems related to alcohol use. These facilities include indoor facilities such as arenas, community centres, community halls, and senior centres, as well as outdoor recreational areas such as parks, beaches, stadia, and sports fields where alcohol may be served at specially licensed social and recreational events. These events are usually operated by inexperi­ enced volunteers who, at times, serve participants to intoxication. This contributes to vandalism, fights, injuries, and impaired driving and other problems. Such occurrences not only result in license suspensions and criminal charges, but also in use of police time and in civil litigation. This paper will describe the policy model being recommended to Ontario communities-cities, towns, villages, and townships. It will also report on the progress that has been made to date in developing policies in municipalities, initial perceptions of the municipal staff about the impact of the policy on alcohol-related problems and on the rental of facilities. ABSTRACT

Introduction In our society, alcohol's potential as a harmful drug is often underestimated, in part because of its legal status. The Addiction Research Foundation (ARF), a provincial drug agency in Canada, reported that in 1994, 82% of Ontario adults acknowledged having used alcohol in the previous year with slightly more than 5% displaying signs of dependence. In comparison, less than 1% of Ontario adults reported using cocaine (Addiction Research Foundation, 1995). These results reinforce the view that more people are affected by alcohol use than other substances, and the prevention of alcohol problems must remain our highest priority. When concerns are raised about excessive alcohol consumption and its related problems for the general public, intervention techniques are usually divided into two broad prevention strategies: education around responsible drinking atti­ tudes and behaviours, and legislated social control. The utility of education strategies, at least with respect to formal education in the area of substance use and abuse, has been extensively reviewed (d. Milgram, 1975; Goodstadt, 1980; 0968-7637/95/020105-14 ©1995 Journals Oxford Ltd


L. Gliksman et al.

Moskowitz, 1989; Gliksman & Smythe, 1990). Generally, the findings have not been overly encouraging. The social control policy position of prevention is perhaps best described by advocates of the single distribution of consumption model (e.g. deLint & Schmidt 1971; Schmidt & Popham, 1978; Ornstein, 1980). Advocates of this position state that the most appropriate strategy for reducing alcohol consump­ tion, and indirectly alcohol-related morbidity and mortality, is to limit the availability of alcohol. Availability, they suggest, can be limited by reducing the number of outlets selling alcohol, or by limiting the hours of sale of those outlets that remain (see Rush et al., 1986; Gliksman & Rush, 1986, for a full description of this policy option and its implications; and Douglas & Giesbrecht, 1993, for a linking of the theory to the policy agenda). In terms of this legislative option, the feelings of its proponents are succinctly stated by Whitehead (1979), who has suggested that 'the hope and promise for primary prevention is not in vague notions of responsible drinking and wise choice by individuals', but lies in 'public policy that controls availability in line with societal goals and objectives' (p.88). The role of education in this process should then be used as an adjunct to legislation in order to tell people what these measures are and to convince them that a need for the measures exists. In essence, education should be used as a social marketing strategy (see Thomson et al., 1985, for a case example of such a strategy). Emerging models, such as that proposed by Torjman (1986), are recommending that concurrent preventive actions integrate education programs with skills training and policy develop­ ment. Although social control policies can be developed for both large-scale (e.g. state or provincial) interventions and small-scale (e.g. social community) inter­ ventions, interest originally was typically centred on the large scale policies (d. Beauchamp, 1976; Whitehead, 1979; Giesbrecht, 1984). Implementation of large­ scale social control policies, such as those proposed by the single distribution model, may be viewed by political decision makers as unpalatable to the general public and may be difficult to implement because of the perceived political liability of endorsing such a policy stance. Indeed, opponents of the single distribution approach to prevention have raised numerous concerns about the utility of this approach (d. Parker & Harman, 1978; Taussig, 1978). Despite this anticipated resistance and scepticism directed at attempts to implement controls, Beauchamp (1976) argues that convincing the public of the benefits of a fair alcohol policy is 'the most important challenge facing alcoholism authorities and agencies' (p. 351). In response to this challenge, recent social policy thrusts and research have begun to focus on the local option and its potential advantage in overcoming political resistance (d. Wittman, 1981; Wittman & Shane, 1988; Reynolds, 1984; Wallack, 1985; Douglas, 1986; Reynolds & Wynne, 1987; Reynolds & Ryan, 1987). Therefore, at the outset, smaller-scale social control policies, oriented toward defined segments of the general population may have a greater opportunity for success as suggested by Murray & Douglas (1988) in their discussion of applying social marketing strategies to the alcohol policy field. The development of Municipal Alcohol Policies (MAPs) to manage alcohol in municipally-owned or managed facilities has emerged as a pragmatic solution for politicians. That is, politicians face the dilemma of an electorate wanting access to alcohol while at the same time being concerned about the negative

Municipal Alcohol Policies


consequences, particularly with the risk of civil liability (see Solomon & Usprich, 1991, for a discussion on liability pertaining to the intoxicated). The policies generally identify facilities selected for alcohol use, require training in the service of alcohol for event operators, and list regulations governing the man­ agement of the event. In Ontario, as in most of the other Canadian provinces, renters wishing to serve alcohol at community celebrations, fund-raisers, sports banquets, and other social events held in licensed municipal facilities (including outdoor areas) are required to obtain a Special Occasion Permit (SOP). The SOP application form, issued by the Liquor Licence Board, informs the signatory of his/her responsibility for maintaining the 'safety and sobriety' of those attending the event. Smart (1988) estimated that more than 150,000 SOPs were issued in Ontario in 1986. More recent estimates put the figure at 84,000 (LLBD, 1995). These special one-time drinking events are often operated by well-intentioned, inexperienced and untrained community volunteers. As a result, alcohol-related problems, such as impaired driving, fights, injuries from accidental falls and other drunken behaviour have a potential for occurring. Nonetheless, the pro­ hibition of alcohol at weddings, club dances and receptions would not be politically viable because of participants' demands for access to alcohol. There­ fore, strategies for reducing excessive and inappropriate drinking, while main­ taining the availability of alcohol, are required. These strategies require a harm reduction approach that protects the health and safety of partying participants and other members of a community while maintaining the benefits from socializing, from fund-raising activities, and from tourism.

Early Experience Alcohol risk management policies began to appear in the Province of Ontario in the early 1980s. Among the first cities to apply this strategy was the community of Thunder Bay. Gliksman et al. (1990) found in their evaluation of this local social control policy that Thunder Bay residents were not necessarily opposed to policies that restricted the availability of alcohol, at least in municipally run facilities. In addition, they found that social marketing campaigns could increase the likelihood of voluntary compliance. By the early 1990s, both the Addiction Research Foundation and local Public Health Units (PHU) were actively collab­ orating in facilitating the formulation of MAPs across Ontario (Else et al., 1992). Over the years, a core of policy recommendations has evolved (see Pollard et al., 1989; Douglas et al., 1990; Symons & Douglas, 1991; Narbonne-Fortin, 1993, for policy examples). Among the recommended regulations are the following: the preparation of a list of facilities at which alcohol can be served and at which alcohol cannot be served; restrictions on serving patrons to intoxication; the provision of safe transportation for the intoxicated; prohibiting the service of alcohol to underage participants; making available low alcohol drinks and food; and a list of required management practices. These management practices include adequate door and floor supervision, limiting the number of drinks that can be purchased at one time, serving drinks in paper cups, and requiring SIP training for people operating, supervising and serving at alcohol-related events. Compulsory server training programs have been shown to be successful in increasing both servers' knowledge about their obligations and the strategies they can use to prevent


1. Gliksman et al.

serving customers to intoxication while increasing their repertoire of appropriate responses to the intoxicated (Gliksman et al., 1993a). In addition to the evaluations noted above, a collection of anecdotal accounts from communities that have adopted MAPs has been assembled. According to these accounts: patrons have ceased rowdy behaviour in order to regain admit­ tance to community functions; there are fewer incidents of damage to park benches; more moderate drinkers have returned to community events knowing they no longer will be harassed by the drunken few, and cab drivers have noted an increase in fares following SOP events. As well, hospital emergency staff in one community report a decrease in injuries resulting from brawls; in another, private sport and service clubs report that they are modelling their munici­ pality's policy in their facilities; and police services in several communities reported decreases in impaired driving and in the number of calls for assistance. Many communities have commented on the number of individuals who choose to leave their vehicles in the parking lot at the end of an event rather than drive home (Narbonne-Fortin et al., 1995). The Policy Formulation Process

The process utilized in developing a Municipal Alcohol Policy is unique in comparison to policies normally generated by provincial level decision makers in that community stakeholders are invited to actively participate. This democra­ tizing of social control involves the formation of a policy committee, normally sanctioned by a municipal council. This policy development committee repre­ sents a cross-section of community interests and meets at three week intervals for approximately six to eight meetings. During these meetings, the committee members address their working terms of reference by: reviewing the literature on drinking practices; inspecting facilities and discussing potential and prior problems; examining alcohol policies of other municipalities; familiarizing them­ selves with provincial alcohol regulations pertaining to Special Occasion Per­ mits, and attending a server training program. Finally, they draft a policy recommendation for review by the municipal council. An important component of this policy formulation process is the on-going feedback from community members during the time it takes to develop the policy. This community feedback process ensures that the community is kept informed that a policy is in development, of the issues being discussed, of the regulations being considered, and of the benefits to be gained. As well, the committee solicits input from staff, community volunteers and user groups (facility renters). In this way, concerns can be addressed as they emerge so that controversial issues can be resolved early in the process. Often, by providing information and negotiating a common position among groups with conflicting interests prior to a council's deliberations, politicians are more inclined to adopt the policy. While the infrastructures within municipalities may vary due to the size of the populations they serve, the common element of any such policy is an emphasis on maintaining contact with the community and its affected stakehold­ ers (Thomson & Douglas, 1983; Douglas, 1986). Once adopted, the policy or specific regulations within the policy may become a municipal by-law. A social marketing campaign is developed to inform community members, facility user groups, and individuals who wish to rent a municipal facility for an alcohol-related event of the policy requirements. The

Municipal Alcohol Policies


promotional campaign includes a mix of public service announcements, paid advertisements, news items appearing in the various media, the posting of signs, and public forums [1]. Program staff from the Addiction Research Foundation and! or from Public Health Units assist municipal staff through the development of the policy, provide information around alcohol use and regulations during policy com­ mittee deliberations, demonstrate the server training program, and collaborate with municipal officials on the design of the promotional campaign. This paper is the initial documentation of the in-roads that have been made in the develop­ ment or MAPs throughout Ontario. This particular study is part of an on-going, multi-year study to evaluate the efficacy of MAPs in reducing alcohol problems in municipal facilities (Gliksman et al., 1993b). Methodology The 1995 Ontario Municipal Directory was used as the population frame for the survey of municipalities. The population includes all municipalities, improve­ ment districts, separated towns and one Area Services Board listed in the directory. A total of 777 surveys were sent to each City, Town, or Township Clerk who was listed in the Directory. Included in the package was a prepaid, self-addressed envelope and a cover letter which indicated the purpose of the research and requested that the clerk forward the questionnaire to the appropri­ ate individual (usually believed to be a Recreation Director or Facility Manager) if it was not themselves. While an attempt was made to conduct a census, not every municipality returned the survey. The overall sample represents responses received from all sources for the period from 1 October, 1994 to 31 January, 1995. Direct responses from the municipalities totalled 476. In addition, ARF Program Consultants were able to provide information about some communities who did not directly respond to the survey. To verify this information, the research team contacted the Clerk (or Recreation Director) and reviewed the information. As a result, a further 70 communities were included, yielding a total sample of 546 with an overall response rate of 70.3%. Of the 546 communities which constituted our overall sample, 477 (87.4%) had facilities for which Special Occasion Permits could be obtained or had existing bar licences. The remainder either did not have any public facilities deemed eligible for licensed events, had no municipally owned facilities, or were designated as 'dry' communities. Since only municipalities with eligible facilities are considered to be candidates for MAP development, these 477 communities constitute the basis of this report. Results and Discussion The results presented in this paper represent the status of Municipal Alcohol Policy development in Ontario municipalities as of 31 January, 1995. It should be noted that when discussions centre on developed policies, no differentiation has been made between the policies developed with assistance by various groups or policies developed independently of assistance. It should also be noted that, at this time, no differentiation between the quality and comprehensiveness of the policies has been made. Future analyses will focus on these differentiations.


L. Gliksman et al.

Even with these noted conditions, reports from other sources, such as staff working with these municipalities, appear to suggest that the majority of policies have been developed using the desired model and contain many of the elements of a preferred policy. For the purposes of the present paper, the focus will be on describing the penetration of municipal alcohol policy development throughout the province, the types of municipalities that have implemented a policy, the length of time the policies have been in place, the source of assistance that has been provided to the municipality, and the changes that have occurred in both the rate of rental of the facilities and the problems with which the municipalities have had to deal. Status

Of the 477 municipalities with eligible facilities, 58.5% (n = 279) did not have a policy in place and 7.5% (n = 36) had an informal policy which was either implicit or mentioned in the city by-laws. Of the remaining municipalities, 22.4% (n = 107) had a formal written policy in place, and 11.5% (n = 55) had a formal policy in the development phase. Of those 55 communities where policies were in development, 18 had reached the draft stage, and five more were ready for presentation to Council. By early 1995, more than one-third of the eligible communities will have a written policy. It is informative to look at the reasons that respondents gave for the development of the policy. Of the 107 communities that have a policy in place, the four most prevalent reasons cited were: liability awareness (60 communities); safety reasons (28 communities); recommendation by recreation staff (18 communities); and were stimulated by an ARF presen­ tation (15 communities) [2]. While great strides have been made over the past few years, it is apparent that further in-roads still have to be made. However, it is encouraging that close to 200 requests for more information regarding policy development, server intervention training, civil liability, policy implementation and policy review were received in the surveys that were returned [3]. Time in Place

As suggested above, MAPs have been on the provincial scene for a number of years. Thus, it comes as little surprise that there is great variability in the length of time that communities had MAPs in place. Of the 107 formal policies, 46.7% had been in place for 1 year or less. About one-quarter (26.2%) had been in place for 13 months to 2 years; 15.9% for 25 months to 5 years, and 11.2% for more than 5 years. The average time the policies had been in place was just about 2 years (25.3 months), and the average time taken to complete the development of a policy was about 10 months (9.7 months). Although Municipal Alcohol Policy development has been on the agenda of the ARF for a number of years, it is only in the past 2 years that the Foundation's Community Programs Department has selected local alcohol policy initiatives as a priority program activity for its program staff. Prior to this increased policy development activity, the Foundation designed the policy model and piloted its implementation by replicating the policy formulation process in selected com­ munities. In addition, other groups, notably public health units, as well as some private consultants have entered into a partnership with ARF in promoting MAP development. The significant increase in the number of policies that have been

Municipal Alcohol Policies


in place for one year or less may be attributed to this increase in the number of active players in the field, an increase in awareness and receptivity by munici­ palities, and the expanded commitment of the Addiction Research Foundation.

Type of Municipality Of the 162 municipalities that have a formal policy in place or in development, 39.5% were in townships, 35.2% were in towns, 6.8% were in villages, and 18.5% were in cities. These designations are consistent with the designations in the Ontario Municipal Directory. That is, in Ontario there are more towns and townships than cities and villages. Thus, the distribution of policies reflects the proportions of these types of municipalities. These types of municipalities have different populations and geographies associated with them. Because Ontario communities have great variability in terms of population, it is interesting to determine whether it takes longer to develop a policy in larger communities than in smaller ones. Municipalities of less than 2500 people, and those with populations between 2500 and 9999 people, each took about nine months to develop (8.9 and 9.1 months, respect­ ively) a policy. Municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 99,999 people took 10.2 months to develop, while those with more than 100,000 people took an average of 14.5 months. It appears that the larger the community, the more time it takes to develop a policy. The reasons for this, while complex, may include the need to address concerns about a larger number of facilities, to consult with a larger number of stakeholders, to explore and accommodate the ethnic diversity of the community, and to navigate a more complex bureaucracy.

Assistance Provided As was previously indicated, there are a number of partners cooperating in the development of MAPs in Ontario. Of the 162 formal policies in place (107) or in development (55), 27 (6.7%) indicated that they did not receive assistance from outside sources. That is, they had developed their policies independently. The remaining 135 municipalities had all received some on-going assistance, and the source of this assistance is depicted in Figure 1. Almost three-quarters (73.3%) had received assistance from program staff located in one of the 26 ARF Community Program Offices across the province. Another 50% (49.6%) had received assistance from a provincial or municipal police representative. Other contributors to the process included: staff from the Public Health Units (41%), who like their ARF counterparts are deployed throughout the province; inspec­ tors from the Liquor License Board of Ontario (LLBO) which holds the mon­ opoly for liquor sales in the province (22%); and various other nonprofit and private sources. It is apparent that municipalities tended to receive assistance from more than one of the provincial partners. Of the 135 communities employing this resource, about 62% had at least two partners to assist them, 38% had at least three partners, and 6% had at least four partners. Often staff from the ARF, PHU and police will jointly serve as consultants to the municipality along with an LLBO inspector who will make a single presentation. As well, municipal recreation staff are beginning to exchange policies and share their experiences. This working together by partners on community policy coalitions is consistent with


L. Gliksman et a1.

Assistance Provided by: ARF


Police Services • • • • • • •

Public Health Units

LLBO • • • • Private consultants

Other Communities

Community Coalitions

Legal Services







Percent Received assistance: Yes = 135 (83.3%) No = 27 (16.7%)

Formal policies in place or in development (n = 162)

* Percentages add up to more than 100% because of multiple partners

Figure 1. Resource support in formal development (n = 135).

the Government of Ontario's (1993) Substance Abuse Strategy to further cooper­ ation and accommodation in efforts to reduce or eliminate alcohol abuse. Another interesting feature with respect to the policies that are currently in place addresses the issue of how the policy was developed. Was a policy development committee the primary mechanism responsible for the formulation of the policy or was it done by city staff, a recreation committee, or some other alternative? The ARF policy model proposes that the most appropriate method is to establish a special, time-limited policy development committee as described in the Policy Formulation Process section. Of the 107 formal policies in place, 78 were developed by a policy development committee, 14 by city staff, and 13 by a recreation committee which often functions in a policy advisory role to council. The remaining two communities used some other mechanism. Whether com­ munities follow ARF advice or utilize the procedure because they viewed the committee process as the most appropriate vehicle, the majority clearly have used a policy development committee to drive the development of their MAPs. Rental Changes

One of the primary concerns of municipal politicians and parks and recreation directors is the potential loss of revenue because of the implementation of a Municipal Alcohol Policy. Specifically, they are concerned that the policies will make user groups reconsider the rental of the facility, and this will result in under-utilization of facilities that the municipality will still have to maintain. Respondents were asked to indicate, based on either records they have kept or perceptions that they may have, whether changes in facility rentals had occurred since the implementation of the MAP. Of the 107 municipalities that have adopted a policy, the overall results show that, for the majority (48.6%), rentals

Municipal Alcohol Policies


had remained the same or increased. In contrast, 21.5% of the respondents said rentals had decreased, while 6.5% were unsure about the changes which may have occurred. A further 23.3% indicated that their policy had been in place for less than 6 months, or had not yet been implemented. Consequently, it was too early to assess the effects on rentals. Comparing the perceptions about facility rentals on the basis of the length of time since the policy had been adopted provides some interesting results as seen in Figure 2. As might be expected, in the first few months there appears to be great uncertainty about the status of rentals. Over time, there is less uncertainty, and most respondents were able to determine whether there had been increases or decreases. Initially, most municipalities saw little decrease or increase in rentals. More municipalities reported no change or an increase in rentals after 7 months to 1 year from adoption. This pattern is relatively constant over time, although a slight anomaly occurs for those policies which have been in place between 13 and 18 months. One possible explanation for this may be a delayed reaction to the implementation of the policy by groups scheduling the rental of facilities well in advance of an event. Once a group learns of the alcohol policy regulations associated with the rental agreement, they may choose to cancel the rental in favour of a location with no policy. This may apply to groups intending to run events where drinking tends to become excessive, such as bachelor parties. According to anecdotal reports, a local service club in one community that used SOP events as fund-raisers for community activities, publicly an­ nounced that it would discontinue its rentals because of the town's new MAP. They held out for several months before returning to rent municipal facilities. Another explanation may be that, for one reason or another, it may have taken several months for the policy to be implemented after its adoption [4]. In this circumstance, the dip seen at 13-18 months reflects the levels seen at 6 months. While some respondents felt there had been some decrease in rentals, these figures remain relatively low and are constant over time. Generally, these results suggest that the concerns about rentals dropping off because of the new policy regulations are largely untenable. Once the groups have adjusted to the im­ plementation of the policy, the majority of municipalities evidence no decreases, and may even experience slight increases in the rental of their facilities. Problem Reduction

Municipalities were asked if they had experienced a reduction in their problems since the adoption of their MAPs. Of the 107 communities that had adopted formal policies, 44 perceived a reduction in problems, seven had not. Of the remainder, 34 said it was too soon to know or they had not yet implemented their policies, 14 were uncertain about the status of problems, and eight said they had never experienced problems. Among the latter were those who had been previously 'dry' communities, those with new facilities, and those who had adopted a MAP as a proactive strategy as opposed to a remedial one. A summary of the perceptions with respect to the problems reduced is presented in Figure 3. The major problem areas in which these 44 respondents indicated a noticeable reduction were in the areas of underage drinking, fighting, and vandalism. Other significant decreases were seen in terms of the number of police interven­ tions and the number of public complaints. It is also interesting to note that most


1. Gliksman et al. 30

25 .... 20



~ 15 Ql




Time Policy in Place I

--- Increased/same @ Decreased


Uncertain/Too soon

48.6% reported rentals unchanged or increased since policy adopted 1 community had not implemented policy after 5 years ~nd is excluded from graph

Figure 2. Change in facility rentals over time (n = 107). indicated that more than one problem had been affected. Thirty-four municipal­ ities reported that at least two problems had been lessened, 25 said that at least three problems had been decreased, and 18, 8, 6, 3 and 1 indicated that at least 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 problems, respectively had been reduced. These findings

Problems reduced Underage drinking

'J1 7

27 25


'/ 7

Legal action

8_ 8_


Unlicensed drinking





LLBO penalties




24 16

Police interventions


Public complaints Injuries

Drink & drive


'/ / J1 7 7

'117 7

1 1'ZZZZ217 30


.YES (n

o 10 20 Number of Municipalities 10

= 44)


UJ NO (n = 7)

Too soon/not implemented (n = 34); Uncertain (n = 14); never problems (n = 8) Records kept Yes = 10.3% Yes, but not detailed = 20.6% No = 55.1 % Data reflect mUltiple responses

Figure 3. Problems reduced since policy adopted (n = 107).


Municipal Alcohol Policies


30,-­ 25

.... 20 C Q)

~ 15 Q)



Time Policy in Place • Yes



Uncertain/Too soon

37/44 Municipalities who had problem reduction had done so within 2 years from adoption 41.1 % who had policies reported problem reduction since policy adopted 7.5% had never experienced problems; 0.9% (1) community had not implemented policy after 5 years

Figure 4. Time to see problem reduction (n = 107). corroborate earlier reported anecdotal accounts of policies contributing to a decrease in problems occurring in alcohol-related events held in municipal recreation facilities. Figure 4 presents the reduction of problems by the length of time since the policy had been adopted. Once the policies had been in place more than 6 months, most respondents begin to see reductions in problems. Policies that had been developed less than 6 months earlier, not surprisingly, showed little differentiation in the numbers of respondents who perceived reductions versus those who perceived no reductions in problems. After policies had been in place more than 6 months, there are clearly more municipalities in which reductions of problems were perceived. It is apparent that it does not take most municipal­ ities very long after the policy has been developed to experience a reduction in problems, and most are able to maintain these reductions long after the policies have been in place-even after a number of years have passed. Conclusion The recent increase in the number of players in the development of MAPs in the province of Ontario is a reflection of the belief of these groups in the efficacy of the local policy option in addressing problems related to excessive and inappro­ priate alcohol use. The increases that have been observed in both the number and diversity of communities that have developed MAPs is likely due to the increase in the numbers of groups providing assistance, largely the ARF and Public Health Units. While this increase is encouraging, about two-thirds of Ontario's municipalities still do not have a formal policy governing alcohol use in their facilities. One key player whose support of the process would be valuable is the Association of Municipalities, whose sanctioning of the process


L. Gliksman et al.

might encourage more of its members to engage in the process of development. In addition, endorsement by the insurance industry, in the form of reduced insurance premiums, would provide a further incentive. It appears that the social experiment in Ontario, Canada to reduce problems through the development of municipal alcohol policies is proving to be a promising prevention initiative. Alcohol problems are reportedly being reduced in municipal facilities where policies have been adopted. This appears to be a win-win partnership between health/social/public order agencies and munici­ palities and their user groups, since all parties benefit from the reductions in problems and the resulting improvements in community life. Additionally, municipalities are able to accommodate alcohol-related events in their facilities with reduced associated risks and greater public support. As well, decreases in rentals do not appear to be a common response to policy implementation. Overall the results of the present study provide support for the utility of municipal alcohol policy and the feasibility of developing them across the province. Notes All the authors are with the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario. Louis Gliksman, is a Scientist and Associate Director of the Foundation's Social Evaluation & Research Department. Ron Douglas, is the Regional Manager, North Region, Community Programs Department. Marg Rylett, is a Research Associate with the Social Evaluation and Research Department, and Claire Narbonne­ Fortin, is a Program Consultant with the Foundation's Community Programs Office located in Sudbury. Information on the research findings should be directed to Dr Louis Gliksman at: Addiction Research Foundation, Social Evaluation & Research Department, The Gordon J. Mogenson Building, 100 Collip Circle, Suite 200, London, Ontario N6G 4X8, Canada. Tel: (519) 858-5000; Fax: (519) 858-5199; E-mail: [email protected] Information on the policy development model should be directed to Ron Douglas at: The Addiction Research Foundation, North Regional Office, 144 Pine Street, Suite 203, Sudbury, Ontario P3C lX3, Canada. Tel: (705) 675-1181; Fax: (705) 675-5048. [1] See Thompson et al., 1985; Gliksman et al., 1990, for a further description of a promotional campaign. [2] Respondents were permitted to provide multiple reasons for their involvement, and the results presented are based on the total responses provided, and thus exceed the total number of communities with policies in place. [3] A total of 231 municipalities did not respond to the survey. It is likely that the majority of these do not have policies in place. However, it is also possible that many of these do not have SOP eligible facilities, and chose not to respond to the survey for this reason. [4] This happens often when a policy is passed in the late Spring (Mayor June) and implementation planning is left to the next FalL

References Addiction Research Foundation (1995) Drugs in Ontario (Toronto, Addiction Research Foundation). Beauchamp, D.E. (1976) Exploring new ethics for public health: developing a fair alcohol policy, Journal of Health Policy, I, pp. 338-354. deLint, J. & Schmidt, W. (1971) Consumption averages and alcoholism prevalence, British Journal of Addiction, 66, pp. 97-107. Douglas, R.R. (1986) Alcohol management policies for recreation departments: Development and implementation of the Thunder Bay model, in: N. Giesbrecht & A. Cox (Eds) Prevention and the Environment, pp. 177-197. (Toronto, Addiction Research Foundation). Douglas, R.R., Pyette, S. & Anstice, J. (1990) Tehkummah's alcohol management policy: a model

Municipal Alcohol Policies


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