Food and Alcohol - An Overview

Many events provide food or liquor to participants, and an understanding of what the law says about their service is important to event managers.
Food must be of saleable quality and fit for human consumption. It must not contain foreign objects, poisons, or diseases. The law applies a high standard of care on the food service industry and applies such legislation as The Food and Drugs Act, The Sale of Goods Act, and various municipal bylaws.
The liability associated with the sale of alcohol is complex. Liability may be found at least four ways:
  1. Under the Criminal Code of Canada,
  2. Under the Liquor License Act,
  3. Under provincial liquor licence acts, or
  4. Under common law.
As well as not serving liquor to underage persons, liquor service establishments in Canada have the obligation to not serve alcohol to someone who is intoxicated or will become so. The legal trend is to increase the responsibility of such establishments to manage how alcohol is served because of their "superior knowledge" about the effects of alcohol. The intoxicated guest who drives home represents the greatest liability risk to the serving establishment.
"Bring Your Own Wine," where patrons may bring their own wine to a restaurant, is available in Quebec, Alberta, and New Brunswick, as well as in Australia and several American states. Ontario is presently looking at similar legislation.

Additional Resources

The following web resources will help you complete the learning outcomes for this Food and Alcohol Overview:

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