Are you a teenager planning to taste alcohol for the first time in your life? Are you searching for the minimum legal drinking age in Canada and other regulations regarding the same? If your answer is yes, this article is for you.
In most countries of the world, alcohol consumption is a highly regulated activity. Whereas, in many others, it is completely banned. The rationale behind these drinking age laws is to protect the individual and society from the adverse effects of alcoholic beverages. The legislated drinking age makes clear who shall drink alcohol from which point of their life.
In Canada, the authority for legislating the minimum legal drinking age lies independently with the provinces and territories of Canada. Each province and territory in Canada has its own drinking age legislation. We shall dive into the depths of these legislations further in the article.
Alcoholic Beverages And Their Effects
Before we venture into the legalities of Canada’s drinking age laws, let us understand the nature and effects of alcohol drinking.
Alcohol can be described as a principal ethanol-based product. The alcohol content is, as you might be aware, liquid. It is flammable in nature and comes in the category of drugs. It is usually extracted from sources of sugar like grains or fruits. Alcoholic drinks are widely considered depressing drugs that can be understood because it slows down the brain functions. Slowing down brain functions generally leads to abnormal actions.
Effects Of Alcohol
Different people show different reactions to alcohol consumption. The person’s weight, gender, and age play a key role in an individual’s capacity to consume alcohol. But overall, it is the water content in your body that is instrumental in affecting your body and mind.
People with less weight are generally seen to be more receptive to alcohol than people with more weight. Also, since males have a greater water concentration in their body than females, their body tends to absorb more alcohol.
But the main determinant that we are here to discuss is the influence of the age factor on alcohol consumption. In several studies, it has been found that teenagers worldwide come in contact with alcoholic drinks from the age of 13. Young adults have a lower capability to consume alcohol than full-grown adults.
If young males and females consume alcohol more than their capability, they risk getting intoxicated. They might have to encounter adverse consequences such as impaired judgment, slurred speech, and blurred vision, along with many other substantial social harms. This makes it imperative for the provincial and territorial Canadian governments to introduce alcohol policy reforms.
Canada’s Drinking Age Laws
Canadian drinking age laws aim to specify the minimum legal drinking age for teenagers to be served with alcohol. They also prescribe the rules and punishments regarding the same. The legal drinking age in Canada is not uniform. It is decided by each of the provinces and territories of Canada separately.
Legal Drinking Age
- The legal age for drinking alcoholic fluids in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec is legally mandated at 18 years of age. On the other hand, provinces like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Ontario have fixed the drinking age at 19.
- The legal drinking age in the three territories of Canada (Nunavut, Yukon Territory, and Northwest territories) is legislated at 19 years of age.
Thus, except for the three provinces of Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba, youth drinking is permitted from 19 in Canada.
Benefits To Canadian People And Society
The implementation of the legal drinking age in Canada was necessitated because of alcohol access to underage teens. The widespread reach of alcohol products had made it imperative to mandate a law that would regulate the alcohol dependence of teenagers. The Canadian drinking age laws prevent underage people from consuming or possessing alcohol.
Many researchers conclude that the drinking age regulations in Canada have been substantially successful in achieving its goals. A similar study was conducted in 2014 by the University of British Columbia. This report came from the Faculty of Medicine of the university and was led by Dr. Russell Callaghan. It categorically stated how the drinking age in Canada has helped reduce youth mortality. These provincial alcohol policies were particularly effective among Canadian males.
The study had two groups of teenagers. One group had Canadian males slightly younger than the minimum drinking age and the other group being above the drinking age. It was observed that the teens above the drinking age in Canada had significant and abrupt increases in their mortality figures. This was a result of impairment of brain activities once alcohol is consumed. Injuries rose sharply particularly due to motor vehicle accidents in British Columbia. Heavy consumption of alcohol also led to alcohol poisoning, which caused female and male deaths.
On the other hand, people below the drinking age had relatively high mortality figures. They enjoy a good life, not riddled with any addictions. Also, unlike the drunk group, they did not lead to any serious costs to society.
Reforms In The Legislated Drinking Age
It has been many decades since the drinking age was legislated. Now, there is a need for new rules and regulations formulated based on experience. Many drinking rules are currently redundant, or simply new rules need to be legislated to reduce youth mortality.
In the study of Dr. Russell Callaghan, it was stated how the drinking age in Canada is in immediate need of reforms. The study revealed that if the drinking age is increased from 18 to 19 in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, at least seven deaths could be prevented annually. Also, if the age is changed to 21 in the whole country, it would effectively save the lives of at least 32 Canadian youths between 18 to 20 annually.
The drinking age in Canada is in the best interests of both you and society. Thus, kindly follow all the minimum age regulations implemented by the provincial and territorial governments of Canada.