Multiple health organizations are asking Ontario to develop a comprehensive strategy to prepare for the province's upcoming loosening of alcohol rules.

Sales of beer, wine, cider, and ready-to-drink cocktails will be allowed in convenience stores and all grocery stores in Ontario by 2026.

Premier Doug Ford promised in 2018 to expand the sale of alcohol just prior to that year's election, which he ended up winning.

More than a dozen health organizations are calling for an alcohol strategy, echoing Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore.

The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, among others, say alcohol leads to thousands of deaths in Ontario and hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions every year.

The province has said it will spend $10 million to support social responsibility and public health efforts related to the consumption of alcohol as part of its 10-year, $3.8-billion mental health plan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2024.