Drinking Age In Canada

Legal Drinking Age In Canada

The drinking age is the required age by law for consumption and purchase of alcoholic beverages.  Canadian government enforces strict compliance with this law. Although the drinking age varies between territories and provinces in Canada.

Canada Alcohol Laws

Drunkenness, fighting and domestic violence in the 19th century prompted the Temperance Movement to embark on one of the most important protests in Canadian history, which sought legislative redress to the prevailing menace of unhindered alcohol consumption and in 1864 the Canada Temperance Act (CTA) was enacted, though official not binding.

Over time the ban on alcohol rose from provincial to a national prohibition, such as prevalent in all Territories and Provinces in Canada.

Alcoholic consumption can compromise your ability to operate machinery and drive vehicle, hence the need for Canada alcohol laws which enforces strict compliances and criminalizes impaired driving.

In a bid to regulate the in-flow and consumption of alcohol in Canada, Canada alcohol import laws ensure strict compliance in bringing alcohol into the country, however, visitors who wish to import alcohol into Canada must satisfy these requirements.

Drinking Age In Canadian Provinces

The legal drinking age in Canada varies between provinces and territories, however, the sale or buying of alcohol for persons under the legal age is prohibited and criminalized, as a result, the price of alcohol is significantly higher, more expensive than the United States.

Binge drinking is a worrisome trend and one of the biggest health problems in Canada. Nearly six million Canadians are binge drinking at least once a month, according to the 2016 Statistics Canada data people within the ages of 18 and 34 constitutes the largest percentage

In conclusion, Dr Callaghan who published a study in the International Journal Drug and Alcohol Dependency argued that a drinking age legislation will have a significant effect on reducing the mortality rate among youths, especially young male.

Officially 19 years is the legal drinking and purchasing age in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia.

While 18 years is the enforced legal drinking age in Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Drinking Age In Canada With Parents

Minors can drink alcohol with their parents or guardians in their home and under strict conditions and regulations as contained in the Liquor License Act.

Ensuring minors drink under close supervision is believed to instil responsible and moderate drinking habit when they attain adulthood.

Parents or guardians who wish to serve alcohol to minors must satisfy the following conditions.

  • Provision of food to help curb the intoxicating effects of alcohol
  • Keeping an eye on the minor to avoid overconsumption and prevent self-inflicted injuries
  • Employ the service of a bartender to ensure strict compliance of the recommended dosage.

The Drinking Age In Canada For US Citizens

The drinking age in Canada applies to everyone irrespective of nationality. Foreign nationals who wish to consume or purchase alcohol in Canada must provide valid means of identification to ascertain they have attained the legal drinking age.

Penalties For DUI or DWI In Canada

Offenders could earn the following penalties if found guilty of DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated):

  • Jail time
  • Paying a fine or you could
  • You could lose your driver’s license.

Permanent residents or foreign nationals in Canada could face more severe sanctions if found guilty of DUI or DWI.

The Canadian government has imposed harsher immigration-related consequences. The penalties for impaired driving for permanent residents and foreign nationals could include:

  • The stigma of serious criminality
  • Permanent residents found guilty could face deportation and ultimately losing their status
  • Inadmissibility

If you are under the legal drinking age and you have alcohol in your possession, the following penalties will be incurred:

  • Paying a fine
  • Your parents or guardian would be notified and
  • The alcohol in your possession will be ceased by the authorities.

Buying Alcohol In Canada

Finding the right place to buy your favourite booze is not an easy chore, due to the heavy regulation on sales of alcohol by the authorities.

You can purchase alcohol from the following places illustrated in the table below.

Provinces and TerritoriesProvincially Owned OutletsLicensed OutletsGrocery/Convenience StoresOff-Sales
British ColumbiaYesYesYesYes
New BrunswickYesYesYes
Newfoundland and LabradorYesYes
Northwest TerritoriesYesYes
Nova ScotiaYesYes
Prince Edward IslandYesYesYes


Buying Alcohol Online

Buying alcohol online offers safety and convenience especially to residents who live in non-urban areas. To reduce underage drinking, a valid means of identification is required to pick up your order.

The following online stores offer convenience and quality delivery services in Canada.






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