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Drinking Over The Holidays: Laws You Need To Know

Holiday Drinking

It’s almost a universal truth that during the holidays, you will be drinking. What with all the parties, get together, meals, and even the simple act of dealing with your family, the consumption of alcohol is all but an inevitability. Sure, there are some outliers on such a claim, but for the rest of us, drinking over the holidays is a reality.

Now, since enjoying a fair amount of alcoholic beverages may be a bit out of the ordinary for some, we thought it would be best to provide a quick reminder of what is and isn’t allowed in Ontario when it comes to enjoying a bit of liquor, wine, or beer.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about relevant laws relating to alcohol in a holiday context, so you can ensure you’re not breaking any rules if you’re hosting a holiday party or just going to one.

Special Status For New Year’s Eve

Regularly licensed establishments and owners of Special Occasion Permits can legally sell alcohol between the hours of 11am to 2am, save on New Year’s Eve (December 31st) when last call is pushed back an hour until 3am.


Acceptable Forms Of Identification

You probably already have a driver’s licence or the like that you use to showcase your of the legal drinking age, but a reminder is always useful. And besides, sometimes you leave that oft-used card in another coat, so it pays to know exactly what is deemed an acceptable form of identification in Ontario.

They include:

  • A Canadian passport
  • Canadian Citizenship card
  • Canadian armed forces identification card
  • LCBO “BYID” photo card
  • An Ontario driver’s licence
  • Secure Indian Status or Permanent Resident card
  • Any other photo card issued under the Photo Card Act, 2008

Making (And Serving) Your Own Alcohol

If you make your own beer and wine, can you legally give it out to your holiday party guests? Can you give it as a gift? Are you, as a party guest, in the clear if you enjoy a glass?

The answer to all of the above questions is yes, just so long as it is all for free. No homemade beer or wine can be sold or used commercially, so if it’s a free gift or you supply some gratis holiday cheer at a shindig, you’re in the clear.


Transporting Alcohol

No matter what you’re driving (from car to snowmobile to boat) the rule when transporting an alcoholic beverage is that the container’s seal must be unbroken. Alternatively, if the bottle has been opened, it must be sealed in another bag/container, just so it isn’t easily drinkable to any person within the car.


Getting Kicked Out Of A Bar

If you’re planning on getting a little extra rowdy on NYE, and are headed to a bar, you should be aware that any establishment that can legally sell alcohol has the complete right to remove/refuse entry to anyone they deem “undesirable” for whatever justified reason.

Those who don’t comply (not leaving, going in anyway) may be met with an arrest, as the license holder has the right to call the police.


Giving Out Alcohol At A Party

If you’re playing host for the holidays, and are going to be providing the alcohol, you must do so at a rate of free of charge. This includes events held at a private residence or in a “private place” (an establishment not generally open to the public, e.g. an office).

It’s crucial that you are aware of the laws and do the legal research necessary to ensure you act within the law. There are plenty of resources at your disposable to ensure you have a safe and law-abiding holiday experience. If you don’t take the time to familiarize yourself with the drinking laws, your holidays will likely be a very unpleasant and unforgettable experience if you end up in trouble with the law.

This is a sponsored post brought to you in collaboration with LexisNexis

Featured Image: Kaboompics

Michael D'Alimonte

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