Northern Territories Alcohol Labels Study

photo of CISUR's new alcohol warning labels affixed to bottles in the Whitehorse liquor store
CISUR's alcohol warning labels affixed to products in the Whitehorse liquor store. Credit: Kate Vallance

The Northern Territories Alcohol Labels Study, led by CISUR and Public Health Ontario (PHO), is the first real-world evaluation of alcohol warning labels in Canada. The primary aim of this study is to examine the impact of alcohol warning labels as a tool for increasing consumer awareness of alcohol-related health risks and supporting more informed and safer alcohol consumption. This project, led by Erin Hobin (PI) and Tim Stockwell (Co-PI), tests the population-level impact of alcohol warning labels using alcohol sales data and surveys in an intervention site (Whitehorse, Yukon) and comparison site (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories). The study builds on previous research testing the design and acceptability of alcohol warning labels among consumers in Canada.

Two publications from the project have been released with a further nine forthcoming. The study protocol is available open-access in JMIR Research Protocols, and outlines the original design and modifications a result of interference by the alcohol industry. Initial study results, available open-access as part of the Special Issue on Alcohol Policy and Public Health in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, showed increased support for alcohol policies as a result of increased knowledge of alcohol-related cancer risk. These findings are also highlighted in a recent blogpost for the Institute of Alcohol Studies and in an infographic poster.

All upcoming findings will be posted here on the project page.

Journal articles

Project publications

Related labelling publications


Label images

Related news stories

 Coverage of study resumption:

Coverage of study halt:

Media at launch:

Other related news stories:

Blog posts


Photos, webinars and powerpoints

About this project

Also known as the Northern Territories Alcohol Labels Study, this study is based on four years of preliminary research in Ontario, BC and the Yukon, and looks to evaluate the impacts on awareness, knowledge and behaviour of alcohol consumers of a labelling intervention implemented in the Whitehorse, Yukon government liquor store in comparison with the two government liquor stores in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Three warning labels were introduced in Whitehorse during the intervention period between November 2017 and July 2018: a cancer warning, national drinking guidelines, and standard drink information. Baseline surveys and two waves of follow-up surveys were completed in Whitehorse and Yellowknife with liquor store customers. Shortly after the intervention launched, Canadian alcohol industry lobby groups interfered with the study forcing a pause in the labelling and removal of the cancer warning. Full details of the study design are available in the publication outlining the protocol. 

Progress to date

Despite the study being interrupted by Canadian alcohol industry lobby groups, the intervention was successfully completed. Data analyses are currently underway with a number of publications forthcoming. 

Funding bodies

Health Canada, Substance Use and Addictions Program