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Am I old enough to drink legally in Canada?

In legal drinking age on September 14, 2010 at 8:02 am

Legal Drinking Age Canada

Depending on the culture, consumption of alcohol is either frowned or smiled upon…especially if you are minor who is on the brink of legal drinking age. What is a legal drinking age anyway? According to social definitions, it is the age defined by the country or territory that permits anybody who has crossed that age to drink legally. The law varies from country to country. Some countries allow or even encourage consumption of alcohol at an early age, while some bang their foot down and hold the permit till late. There are also some countries that do not have any drinking laws!

Canada places itself somewhere in the middle when it considers the legal drinking age. The average drinking age in Canada is 19, which is an inviting factor for students living south of the border. Many high school graduates in the US head up north to enjoy the lower drinking age permit since the legal drinking age in USA is 21.

The provincial Government decides the drinking age of every province in Canada. It is a misconception that there is a separate law on drinking age for US citizens in Canada. The rules are strictly applied and you need to carry two IDs, where one ID has to be Government issued and displays your photograph. If you are underage and caught drinking, you will be charged a large fine. Also, if a restaurant or bar is caught serving drinks to minors, their license can be revoked.

Legal Drinking Age in Canada

The table mentioned below indicates the legal drinking age in different provinces and territories of Canada.

Province Current Legal Age Former Legal Age Renewal Date
Alberta 18 21 1st April, 1971
British Columbia 19 21 15th April, 1970
Manitoba 18 21 1st August, 1970
New Brunswick 19 21 1st August, 1972
Newfoundland and Labrador 19 21 25th July, 1972
Northwest Territories 19 21 15th July, 1970
Nova Scotia 19 21 13th April, 1971
Ontario 19 18 1st January, 1979
Prince Edward Island 19 18 1st July, 1987
Québec 18 20 July, 1972
Saskatchewan 19 18 1st September, 1976
Yukon 19 21 February, 1970

Exceptions in certain provinces

There are certain exceptions to the rules in some provinces of Canada. For instance,

  • In New Brunswick and Manitoba, you are permitted to drink if you are underage in licensed premises only when accompanied and supervised by an adult guardian.
  • In the provinces of Prince Alberta, Edward Island, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan, you can drink at home under the supervision of parents or an adult guardian if you underage.
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