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Drinking Age in Canada - Will it Change?

Updated on July 17, 2011

Drinking. It's part of culture everywhere; it's in every society, in nearly every home. And, like the many cultures of the world, the way we drink is different. Some allow it at an early age - some even encourage it. Some put their foot down early and hold it there late. Some don't really care either way. And like the opposing culture traditions, many people have there own unique views on drinking, as well as other age laws.

Look at the States.

You can go to war when your eighteen, but you can't have your first drink until twenty-one.

And in Europe they're almost completely the opposite. Most of the European countries allow drinking at any age as long as they are with the parent and he or she is responsible.

Canada is somewhere in-between. The drinking age in Canada used to be as high as twenty-one, but has now been changed to the range of nineteen and eighteen.


Drinking Age By Province

Alberta:  18

British Columbia: 19

Manitoba: 18

New Brunswick:  19

Newfoundland and Labrador: 19

Northwest Territories:  19

Nova Scotia:  19

Nunavut:  19

Ontario:  19

Prince Edward Island:  19

Quebec:  18

Saskatchewan:  19

Yukon Territory:  19 

Legal Drinking Age in Canada

The average drinking age in Canada is nineteen, a far cry from the rule of twenty-one just south of the border. This difference plays a big factor in the decision of new high school graduates; many will head up north to Canada and enjoy the much lower drinking age. If you were looking for a college to party at, wouldn't you?

Every province in Canada has its own drinking age, something which is decided by the provincial government. There are also certain rules that each province has regarding drinking. For example in New Brunswick, where the drinking age is 19, underage drinking is allowed in certain taverns and restaurants; however this is only allowed if you are under the supervision of your legal guardian. This same rule applies for Manitoba.

Even when you become of age the rules are still very strict. Every licensed premise required two pieces of ID, where one ID has to be government issued and have a picture of you on it; if not then you are not allowed to enter. If caught underage drinking you are subjected to a large fine; also if a bar or restaurant is caught serving minors then they can have their licensed revoked.


Drinking Age in Canada - Will it Change?

Not since 1971 has the drinking age been drastically changed in Canada. Then it was lowered throughout the nation from 21 to 18. A few years after that the majority of the country re raised it to 19 due to the amount of high school students getting drunk. Not that that stopped them.

Recently, in 2008, Ontario proposed to raise the drinking age back up to 21. This was quickly refuted and rightly so. The proposal was created in response to the number of injuries and deaths caused by drinking to young people. "To stop binge drinking," was the main point for the change. The fact is that drinking will still be going on regardless of what the age law is; the worst binge drinking doesn't happen in bars and restaurant but at house parties, camping, and other areas.

So will it change? There hasn't been much news as of late regarding any new age laws, but it's likely to change eventually. All culture does. It's likely that the United States will eventually change their drinking age to 19 as well, and when that happens perhaps Canada will take the initiave to make some more change. Maybe become more like Europe?

Although binge drinking is just as common in Europe as it is in North America, it's not as severe. It may be a good idea to follow in the footsteps of some of the oldest cultures and societies in the world, don't you think?



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      Taylorib 5 years ago

      As of 2012 can u still drink at age 19 in Canada??