Percentage of children <2 years of age whose mother reported drinking any alcohol during pregnancy, Canada and the provinces, 1993 to 2008

Denominators exclude those who responded “don’t know” and those who refused to answer.
Territories are excluded because the survey was not conducted there.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada, National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. – accessed July 26, 2017.

Between 1993 and 2008, 14% of children less than 2 years of age had mothers who reported that they drank any amount of alcohol during their pregnancies.

There were variations between provinces.

That proportion was 26% in Quebec and 5% in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

The proportion declined over time – from 16.5% in 1993-1996 to 10.7% in 2005-2008.1

1Statistics Canada, National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. July 26, 2017.


Alcohol is a known teratogen.  Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability among Canadians. There is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy or when planning to be pregnant. It is encouraging that the majority of Canadian women (86%) do not drink alcohol during pregnancy. Although rates have reduced over the years, it is important to have continued supports in place for women who may have difficulty not drinking alcohol during pregnancy.