Canadians aren’t drinking much more than they were a decade ago, the World Health Organization says, but are consuming more litres per person than the global average.

In its “Global status report on alcohol and health 2014,” the WHO noted that each person in the world over the age of 15 drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol every year.

In Canada, alcohol consumption per capita has remained fairly steady over the past 10 years, the report found.

  • Between 2003 and 2005, average alcohol consumption per capita was 7.8 litres of pure alcohol. Between 2008 and 2010, that figure rose only slightly to 8.2 litres.
  • Looking at drinkers only, Canadians aged 15 and older consumed on average 8.2 litres of pure alcohol in in 2010. While that is slightly lower than the 8.4 litres per year per person across the WHO Region of the Americas, it is higher than the global average of 6.2 litres.

When broken down by gender, Canadian males consume far more than the global average and more than twice as much as Canadian females, according to the report.

  • Canadian males aged 15 and older consumed 18.8 litres of pure alcohol in 2010, compared to 7.4 litres for women.

Meanwhile, the report referred to “heavy episodic drinking,” also known as “binge-drinking,” as the most harmful to health. Heavy episodic drinking is described as consuming at least 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion in the past 30 days.

  • Worldwide, about 16 per cent of drinkers aged 15 and older engage in heavy episodic drinking, the report found.
  • In Canada, 23.1 per cent of drinkers engage in this behaviour, including a whopping 31.2 per cent of male drinkers. Far fewer female drinkers, 14.7 per cent, engage in binge-drinking, the report said.