Canadian and Provincial Laws:
Information on our national and provincial laws around alcohol and drug use will help you better understand the legal risks you take when you choose to use substances. Some of the risks are when you ask others to purchase substances for you, or when you purchase alcohol for someone who is underage, when you use your own home as a location for drug and alcohol use, and when you use drugs or alcohol and operate a vehicle (cars, motorcyles, boats, snowmobiles, ATV's, etc.). There are serious legal ramifications associated with these situations that could really interfere with your life and the goals you might have for your future. Take a read through but you can also go to the specific websites listed if you want more detailed information.
Services Nova Scotia relevant web sites:
Is alcohol legal?
Yes, alcohol is a legal drug if you are of legal age. In Nova Scotia you must be at least 19 years old to buy or drink alcohol. The legal drinking age is 19 years throughout Canada, except for Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta. These provinces allow drinking at age 18. In the United States, the drinking age is 21 years.
What is the law about drinking/drug use and driving?
In Canada, it is a serious criminal offence to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 per cent or more. It’s also illegal to drive while you are impaired, even if your BAC is less than .05 per cent.
The same penalties will apply to you if you fail or refuse to provide a breath sample or blood test when asked by the police.
The criminal code of Canada states that people can be charged with impaired driving if it appears that they may have the intention to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have keys and you are inside or in close proximity to the vehicle in an intoxicated state you can be charged.
Also, if you are learning to drive and have a Graduated Driver’s Licence, you are not allowed to drive after drinking ANY alcohol. See http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/rmv/licence/gradlic.asp)
Two legal penalties of a Driving While Impaired (DWI) conviction:
Registry of Motor Vehicles - A DWI conviction stays on your driving record for 10 years. It takes away your right to drive, has a huge affect on your insurance costs when you do begin driving again....
Criminal code of Canada - A DWI conviction gives you a criminal record for life. This can affect your career and ability to secure employment, your ability to travel, etc. (You can apply for a pardon after 4 years, which you may or may not recieve).
Some other common questions:
Q: What are the laws for caregivers when looking at liability/ accountability for underage youth to consume alcohol/illicit substance use on the caregivers property? Are the caregivers ultimately liable?
A: Yes, in Nova Scotia, even parents can be held liable. See Section 89 (2) of the Liquor Control Act (below).
Q: What are the repercussions to bar/lounge/restaurant ‘s who are caught serving to minors in Nova Scotia?
A:They can be charged under the Liquor Control Act. (see Section 89 below)
Q: When caught purchasing alcohol for minors, what is the legal action in Nova Scotia?
A: See Section 89 (2) and Section 104 below in Liquor Control Act.
Q: For youth caught bootlegging alcohol/illicit substances, what do the charges include?
A:Production of liquor for personal use is allowed under the Liquor Control Act, however a license must be obtained to sell liquor and anyone without a license to sell could be charged. (See section 78 (1) of the Liquor Control Act. And Section 89 (1) that deals with minors says that those under 19 cannot sell.
Q: Where is this information referenced from to answer the questions above?
A: The information was taken from the following:
- Liquor Control Act (mainly section 89)
- Motor Vehicle Act (mainly section 100A and 279A
- Criminal Code of Canada
- Youth Justice Act
See also the following web sites:
Liquor Control Act
Use of liquor by minor
89 (1) Liquor shall not be sold, supplied or given to or procured for or by any person under the age of nineteen years, except for medicinal purposes only as provided for by this Act.
(2) Every person who knowingly sells or supplies liquor to any person under the age of nineteen years or knowingly gives liquor to or procures liquor for any person under the age of nineteen years, except for medicinal purposes only as provided by this Act, shall be liable to the penalties mentioned in Section 104.
(Penalty respecting subsection 89(2)
104 Every person who knowingly violates subsection (2) of Section 89, shall for the first offence be imprisoned for not less than one month, or more than three months, and for a second or subsequent offence, be imprisoned for not less than four months, or more than twelve months. R.S., c. 260, s. 104. )
(3) Except as authorized by the regulations, no person who is under the age of nineteen years shall enter or be in a tavern, beverage room, lounge, or cabaret in respect of which a tavern license, beverage room license, lounge license or cabaret license is in effect.
(4) Except as authorized by the regulations, the holder of a tavern license, beverage room license, lounge license or cabaret license shall not permit a person who is under the age of nineteen years to be or remain in the tavern, beverage room, lounge or cabaret. R.S., c. 260, s. 89; 1990, c. 33, s. 1.
NS Motor Vehicle Act
Consumption of alcohol by certain drivers
100A (1) Any person who
(a) is a licensed learner;
(b) is a newly licensed driver; or
(c) has been issued a driver's license prior to the coming into force of this Section but has less than two years of experience as the holder of a class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 driver's license as set out in regulations made pursuant to Section 66, operating or having care and control of a motor vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person's blood exceeds zero milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood is guilty of an offence.