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Alcohol and the Law

(under 19 years old)

  • Alcohol is illegal to buy or possess if you are under 19 in Ontario and 21 in most of the United States.
  • It is also illegal for anyone to supply alcohol to a minor.

In Canada, hosts of private parties have been held financially responsible for injuries and damages that involved their intoxicated guests.

What does that mean?

  • It is illegal to serve a guest alcohol to or past the point of intoxication.
  • You are responsible for the actions and safety of your guests until they are sober, even after they leave your party.
  • And even if you did not provide the alcohol.
  • No criminal charge will be laid against you BUT you can be sued.

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Who could sue me?

  • A guest who gets hurt.
  • The family of a guest.
  • Anyone who your guest hurts.

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How can I be held liable?

  1. As the provider
    The person(s) who sells, gives, serves, or otherwise provides alcohol. It is the provider’s responsibility to stop serving a person who shows signs of intoxication.
  2. As the occupier
    The person(s) who has control over the property with the power to deny entry. You are the legal occupier as the renter of a property, even a hotel room. Occupiers are responsible for the safety as well as the actions of their guests.

Be aware, as a host of a party or other social function:

  • you may be held responsible for injuries or damages that occur as a result of the alcohol you provide and of the alcohol they drink that you did not supply (they may bring their own).
  • you are responsible for what happens to guests when they are in your home, on your property (even if you are not home) or at a hall you have rented.
  • you may be held responsible for the safety and behaviour of your guests until they are sober, not just until they leave your party or function.

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