Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Getting Started


The effects of too much alcohol

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While the majority of alcohol consumers in the province drink responsibly most of the time, there are occasions where people drink in ways that put their health and safety at risk. Research shows that:

  • Alcohol is one of the top three leading risk factors for death from cancer;
  • One in three people experience harm from someone else's drinking;
  • There are over 1,800 deaths, over 18,000 hospital admissions, and over 80,000 alcohol-related crimes every year in BC;
  • 40% of car crashes in BC are alcohol-related;
  • Healthcare and policing costs total $900+ million per year, almost equaling to the revenue generated from alcohol.

Alcohol is a particular problem if the drinker is consuming other drugs, operating a motor vehicle or pregnant. The combination of alcohol with energy drinks have become increasingly popular - this can be dangerous given the ability of energy drinks to mask feelings of intoxication, making people feel less drunk than they really are.

The modern view of alcohol

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1. Governments and the public are concerned about various issues related to alcohol over-consumption, including chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease, injuries and car crashes along with overall public safety.

2. As a result, the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, the BC Ministry of Health, and other organizations across Canada are promoting low-risk drinking guidelines.

3. Young people are more aware than ever before of alcohol-related issues, as is evident in dry grads and designated-driver programs.

4. Laws and regulations have also changed as a result of the mounting evidence on the harms related to alcohol. For example, injured parties from alcohol related incidents are taking their cases to court, where, increasingly, judges assign a percentage of the fault to commercial hosts.

5. Courts are placing an expanding responsibility on the owners, managers and staff of licensed establishments to provide responsible beverage service.

The impact of responsible beverage servicelogo placeholder

Implementing a responsible beverage service program in every alcohol-serving establishment in BC can decrease service-related alcohol problems. An RBS program provides servers, managers and licensees with the knowledge necessary to meet their responsibilities, including eliminating the sale and service of liquor to minors and reducing over-consumption of alcohol in licensed establishments.

How much is too much?

To answer this question, experts from across Canada came together to develop Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. These guidelines can help Canadians moderate their alcohol consumption and reduce their immediate and long-term alcohol-related harm.

Canada's low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines

Drinking is a personal choice. If you choose to drink, these guidelines can help you decide when, where, why and how. Low-risk drinking helps to promote a culture of moderation and supports healthy lifestyles.

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Safer drinking tips

For these guidelines, "a drink" means

Your limits

Special occasions

When zero's the limit

Pregnant? Zero is safest

Delay your drinking


Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse changes lives by bringing people and knowledge together to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs on society. We partner with public, private and nongovernmental organizations to improve the health and safety of Canadians. Visit the website to find out more: