The promotion of alcohol consumption in bars through social media: an assessment of compliance of digital promotions with traditional alcohol advertising regulations in Canada

Funding body: Canadian Centre on Substance use and Addictions

Background: The Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) guidelines on alcohol advertising currently only apply to the traditional electronic media. Some provinces, including BC, also provide some partial scrutiny of new social media promotions of drinking by bars and nightclubs in relation to such codes of practice. The 17 sections of the CRTC code include proscriptions against showing possibly underage people drinking, intoxication, drinking in association with driving or operating machinery, associations with sexual behaviour and against showing people actually drinking. A convenience sample of University of Victoria students identified in a survey their favourite bars. The Facebook and Instagram accounts of the 16 most popular were investigated and samples of possibly non-compliant images were collected for each one. An independent panel of UVic students rated the extent of compliance of montages of images from each bar against the 17 CRTC codes.

Progress to date: The study has been completed, the honours dissertation was passed, a presentation was made at an international conference. The study has been replicated at three other university campuses and a paper combining all campuses has been published.


  • Goatley, S. (Honours student, Psychology)
  • Dr. Tim Stockwell (Supervisor)
  • Paradis, C. (Co-I)