You're hosting brunch and a friend decides to drive home after a few mimosas.
Simply say “no” to drinking and driving. Be firm. Let your friend know that you can't let them drive home because you care. It's a tough spot to be in, but you could save their life.
You're hosting a party and you notice your guests are getting bored with the regular non-alcoholic drinks like water, pop and juice.
Offer your guests a variety of non-alcoholic drinks to choose from. Visit our Mocktails section for lots of delicious, alcohol-free recipes.
After your party a friend decides to drive, claiming they've only had one mixed drink instead of their usual three beers. As the host, do you believe they're okay to drive?
It's a myth that all drinks are the same. Wine, beer and spirits all contain different amounts of alcohol. Most beers contain 5% alcohol, while wines contain 11% to 12%. Spirits such as vodka or rye contain 40% or more. The alcohol content also depends on glass size.
You're hosting a party and start to notice some guests are getting tipsy.
Serve snacks with drinks and always have food available to avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Avoid serving salty, sweet or greasy snack foods, they'll just make your guests thirstier.
You're hosting a party and one of your guests passes out after drinking.
If a friend or guest passes out, never leave them alone. Have someone call 911. Be sure to roll them onto their side, with their head on its side as well, until help arrives.
Top 10 tips for being a great host
Don't plan physical activities when you’re serving alcohol. People are more prone to accidents and injury while drinking.Provide low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks, such as mocktails, non-alcoholic punch, pop, bottled water, tea and coffee.Have food available to avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Avoid serving salty, sweet or greasy snack foods; they’ll make your guests thirstier. High-starch and protein foods such as meats, veggies, cheeses, dips and breads are good choices.Be prepared for overnight guests.Serve drinks yourself or designate a bartender instead of having an open bar. People tend to drink more when they serve themselves. Also, avoid serving doubles. Keep a jigger next to the bottles to measure accurately.Have a plan to deal with guests who drink too much. Before the party, ask someone reliable to help you keep things under control.Promote the use of designated drivers and keep cash and telephone numbers on hand for taxis. Encourage guests to leave their cars at home. If they insist on driving, be prepared to take away their car keys.A good host isn’t obliged to top up a guest’s drink. Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the party is over. Be sure to have a lot of alcohol-free drinks (bottled water, juice, coffee and tea) and food when you do. Remember that having coffee after drinking doesn't make you sober.Don't drink too much yourself. As the host, you’ll be able to handle potential problems better when you can think clearly and act quickly.Plan ahead so that it's easy to follow this advice.
Ideas to help stop your guests from drinking and driving
Plan ahead. Make sure there's always a designated driver around to get everyone home safe and sound.Make sure drinking and driving isn't an option. Take turns being the designated driver.Make sure everyone's got cab money or public transit fare so that no one is stuck without options at the end of the night.Arrange for a few overnight parking spots so that your guests don't need to worry about getting towed or ticketed if they have to leave their car behind.Simply say "no". Be firm. Let your friend know that you can't let them drive home because you care. It's a tough spot to be in, but you could save their life. Remember, it's always best to take them aside to alleviate any potential embarrassment.If a friend’s been drinking, don’t be embarrassed to call someone on their behalf for a safe ride home. Everyone involved will appreciate it in the end.You can always call a cab for a friend. It’s a lot easier to convince them to take it if it’s already there than it is if they have to wait around for one.Ask for their keys:
Don’t give in. Persistence is key when dealing with the issue of drinking and driving. Insist that they find another way home.If a friend’s been drinking but insists on driving, be prepared to call the police for help. It’s tough, but it could save lives.
- Asking your friend for their keys when they’ve been drinking doesn’t need to be awkward. Just be discreet and calm. You could even make light of the situation. It’s always better to pull a friend aside to talk to them in private.
- If you feel awkward about asking for their keys, enlist someone else’s help. Sometimes there’s strength in numbers.
Your responsibilities as a host
Remember that you may be held responsible if your guest is injured or harms another as a result of driving home from your house impaired. If you serve alcohol, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your guests get home safely.
Monitor your guests’ drinking. Just because they may not look drunk doesn’t mean they aren’t.
Injuries from falls, fights and vehicle crashes increase when alcohol is involved, so serve it responsibly when hosting parties. You’ll help keep everyone safe and reduce your risk of being sued.
For more information on your legal responsibilities as a host, visit the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's (AGCO) website at www.agco.on.ca, or call LCBO’s infoline toll-free at 1-800-ONT-LCBO (1-800-668-5226) and (416) 365-5900 (Toronto).
Having a party? Download our responsible hosting checklist
Having a party? Download our responsible hosting checklist.
This handy checklist will ensure that you've got what you need to be a responsible host.
What makes a drink?
It’s a myth that all drinks are the same. Wine, beer and spirits all contain different amounts of alcohol. Most beers contain 5% alcohol, while wines usually contain 11% to 14%. Spirits such as vodka or rye often contain 40% or more. The alcohol content also depends on glass size.
Don't be fooled: common alcohol myths dispelled
MYTH: Driving after only a drink or two is no big deal.
FACT: Drinking and driving is never OK. Impairment begins with your first drink. It's just not smart. You’ll put yourself and others at risk.MYTH: Eating a big meal before I drink will keep me sober.
FACT: Food in your stomach only delays the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. A full stomach doesn't stop the effects of alcohol or intoxication.MYTH: Switching between beer, wine and spirits will affect me more than sticking to one type of alcohol.
FACT: Wrong. Your blood alcohol concentration or BAC – the percentage of alcohol in your blood – is what counts, not the types of drinks consumed. Alcohol is alcohol.MYTH: It's just a wine spritzer/beer. It can't damage me.
FACT: Any kind of alcohol, if consumed irresponsibly, has the potential to seriously damage your digestive system, brain, heart, liver, stomach and other critical organs. It could also take years off your life.MYTH: Everybody reacts the same way to alcohol.
FACT: Everyone is different. There are dozens of factors that affect reactions to alcohol: your gender, body weight, body chemistry, time of day, how you feel mentally, fatigue—the list goes on.MYTH: Alcohol gives you energy.
FACT: Nope. Alcohol’s a drug. It's a depressant and slows down your ability to think, speak and move. Even at low levels, it affects your perception, coordination and judgment, long before any physical signs of impairment occur.MYTH: I'll sleep better if I've had a few drinks.
FACT: Wrong. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it interferes with the quality of sleep you get.MYTH: A cold shower and a cup of coffee are good ways to sober up.
FACT: A shower will make you feel clean and a coffee may keep you awake, but nothing sobers you up other than time.MYTH: Alcohol makes me sexier.
FACT: Alcohol clouds your judgment and makes you less inhibited. You could end up engaging in something you hadn't planned on or wouldn’t normally do, including unprotected and/or unwanted sex, putting you at serious risk of a lot of bad things. Also, physiologically, it reduces your performance. Definitely not sexy.MYTH: If someone passes out after drinking, it's best to let them sleep it off.
FACT: If a friend or guest passes out, never leave them alone. Have someone call 911. And be sure to roll them onto their side with their head on its side as well, until help arrives.MYTH: I can only become an alcoholic after years of drinking.
FACT: You can develop alcoholism at any age. It all depends on how much and how often you drink.MYTH: People who drink too much only hurt themselves.
FACT: Everyone has friends and family who care about them. If the problem drinker gets behind the wheel of a car they could kill someone else.MYTH: It's none of my business if a friend is drinking too much.
FACT: If you're a real friend, it is your business. You can't make them change, but you can be honest. Maybe they'll listen. You might even be able to help them decide to get help.MYTH: The worst thing that can happen when you drink too much is ending up with a raging hangover.
FACT: If only. For one thing, if you drink a lot of alcohol quickly it can build up in your body so much that you can die of alcohol poisoning within only a few hours. Also, you're more prone to accidents, which can be serious or fatal, especially if you’re behind the wheel of a car. Definitely much worse than a hangover.
Need more information?
Canada's first set of national low-risk drinking guidelines were recently introduced for women and men. To find more information about these recommendations, visit: http://www.ccsa.ca/eng/priorities/alcohol/canada-low-risk-alcohol-drinking-guidelines/Pages/default.aspx
MADD Canada has launched a line of virgin drinks as alternatives to alcohol. A variety of wine, beer and cocktails are available at select retailers and 10 per cent of net sales go to support the organization. To find out more about MADD Virgin Drinks, visit: canstore.maddvirgindrinks.com/
Unsure of how much alcohol to purchase for a party? Visit the LCBO’s website for a list of guidelines to help you determine what you’ll need:
*The following amounts are recommended for stocking purposes only. They are not intended or recommended to serve as consumption guidelines.
Visit the LCBO’s website for delicious mocktail recipes for the non-drinkers at your party. You might find more volunteers to play designated driver with these drinks on hand.
Don’t let your guests drink on an empty stomach. Serve food throughout the night. Eating slows down the speed at which the body absorbs the alcohol. Offer snacks such as veggies, cheeses, sandwiches, breads and dips. Avoid salty, sweet or greasy foods, since they tend to make people thirstier.
For hundreds of great party recipes check out the “Food & Drink” website.
Special Occasion Permits
Need a Special Occasion Permit (SOP)? Download a copy of the registration form here or visit the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's (AGCO) website at www.agco.on.ca.
Once you've completed the application form, take it to the designated permit-issuing LCBO store in the municipality where the event is to take place. To find a designated permit-issuing location you can:
- Ask LCBO store employees
- Call the LCBO infoline at 1-800-668-5226 (Toronto: 416 365-5900)
- Click here for a complete listing of LCBO stores issuing Special Occasion Permits
Applications for outdoor events must be submitted at least 30 days before the event. Applications for indoor receptions must be submitted at least 10 days in advance.
Problems With Alcohol
Think you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol? There are hundreds of online resources that can help. Here are a few:
Drinking and driving is never OK. You could kill yourself or someone else. But if that's not enough of a deterrent, check out some other real and serious risks of drinking and driving.
Risks : Legal Risks
In Ontario, novice drivers will get an immediate license suspension and a fine if they’ve had anything to drink at all.
For fully licensed drivers, a blood alcohol level (BAC) from 0.05-0.08 will result in an immediate roadside suspension. If you’re caught again, you may receive a longer licence suspension, hefty fines and possible jail time.FIRST TIME OFFENCE
Three-day licence suspension, $150 administrative monetary penaltySECOND TIME OFFENCE (WITHIN 5 YEARS)
Seven-day licence suspension, mandatory alcohol education program, $150 administrative monetary penaltyTHIRD TIME OFFENCE (WITHIN 5 YEARS)
30-day licence suspension, mandatory alcohol treatment program, six-month ignition interlock licence condition, $150 administrative monetary penaltySUBSEQUENT INFRACTIONS (WITHIN 5 YEARS)
30-day licence suspension, mandatory alcohol treatment program, six-month ignition interlock licence condition, mandatory medical evaluation, $150 administrative monetary penaltyFor more information on legal consequences, the alcohol treatment program and ignition interlock system, visit the Ministry of Transportation’s website at www.mto.gov.on.ca.
Risks : Safety Risks
Just because someone doesn’t seem drunk, it doesn’t mean they aren’t impaired. Alcohol affects everyone differently. Here are just a few effects that begin to take hold from the very first drink:Alcohol reduces motor coordination, alertness and reaction time. It can also blur and double vision.Alcohol affects depth perception, making it difficult to determine the distance of other vehicles, pedestrians or objects.Alcohol affects judgment. A person who’s been drinking is far more likely to be careless or reckless behind the wheel.
The Ministry of Transportation publishes a yearly "Ontario Road Safety Annual Report" (ORSAR) and recently released the 2009 edition. This report found that the number of drinking and driving fatalities decreased from 145 in 2008 to 129 in 2009 (down 11 per cent).
In 2009, Ontario's drinking and driving fatality rate was 0.14 per 10,000 licensed drivers, down from 0.16 in 2008. While these findings indicate decreases, the fact is impaired driving remains a life-threatening issue and, despite progress, continues to be a risk. In addition to the human toll, it is estimated the cost of damages as a result of drinking and driving is in the billions.
We can all deflate the elephant in the room by speaking up to help prevent friends and loved ones from impaired driving.
A full version of the ORSAR report can be found here: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/orsar/orsar09/index.shtml
For tips on what to do if someone you know is about to drink and drive, check out our Be a great host section. If you think you’re already equipped to handle the situation, give it a try now! See how fast you can deflate the elephant in the room.
For more information on the serious safety risks involved with drinking and driving, visit:
Risks : More Information
Ontario's RIDE program is cracking down on drinking and driving. So think long and hard before getting behind the wheel intoxicated. Odds are, you won't make it very far before getting nabbed.
For more information on Ontario’s RIDE program, contact your local police department.
Ontario Provincial Police: www.opp.ca.
Winter safety : Winter driving
Ontario winters are challenging for motorists.
Safety is a top priority of the Ministry of Transportation.
Every effort is made to make highways safe and to provide efficient winter maintenance service for the public.
Weather conditions can be unpredictable, placing extra demands on your vehicle and your driving skills. Ensure you are well prepared for winter roads and always adjust your driving speed to existing conditions.
Remember to be road-ready and weather-wise this winter:Make sure your vehicle is winter ready. Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle.Listen to the radio for road and weather updates and check conditions before leaving.Plan extra time to get to your destination and consider delaying your trip in bad weather.Top up your windshield washer fluid before your trip.In order to see and be seen in reduced visibility conditions, turn on your vehicle's full lighting system.Notify a friend or family member of your destination and anticipated arrival time.Watch for the flashing lights of snow and ice control vehicles.When approaching them from behind, slow down, stay back, and be patient. DO NOT PASS around or between them.Move over for emergency vehicles.Consider installing four winter tires to provide better traction in snow and icy conditions.
For more tips and information on safe winter driving, check out the Ministry of Transportation's website at: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/winterdrive/winterdrive.shtml
Winter safety : Winter driving survival kit
It's a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Having essential supplies can provide some comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded. Recommended items include:Ice scraper/snowbrushShovelSand or other traction aidTow rope or chainBooster cablesRoad flares or warning lightsGas line antifreezeFlashlight and batteriesFirst aid kitFire extinguisherSmall tool kitExtra clothing, gloves and footwearBlanketNon-perishable energy foods - e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled waterCandle and a small tin canWaterproof matches
For more tips and information on safe winter driving, check out the Ministry of Transportation's website at: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/winterdrive/winterdrive.shtml.
Winter safety : Snowmobiling
Snowmobiling is an immensely popular winter activity in Ontario. Whether you are a beginner or you have participated in this recreational activity for a number of years, knowledge of how to operate your vehicle safely is imperative to ensure an enjoyable ride both on and off the trail. The following highlights what you need to know to own and drive a snowmobile safely.Obey speed limits and road/trail signs and always drive within your ability. Reduce your speed when driving at night and watch out for fences, guide wires and other objects that are more difficult to spot at night.Avoid driving on frozen lakes and rivers. If it can't be avoided, check ice conditions beforehand. Wear a buoyant snowmobile suit. Carry ice picks and make sure they are accessible.Tell someone of your outing; including where you are going, the route, description of your snowmobile and your expected time of return.Never travel alone - always with a friend. Always be prepared for the unexpected.Exercise caution at road and rail crossings.Never drive impaired. Alcohol, illegal drugs, even prescription and some over-the-counter drugs can slow your reaction time and affect your ability to make good decisions. If convicted of impaired driving on a snowmobile, you will lose your driving privileges for all types of vehicles, including motor vehicles, commercial vehicles and motorcycles.Use appropriate hand signals when driving with others before stopping, slowing down or turning. Exercise caution on corners and hills, and always remain on the right-hand side of the trail.Never ride on private property without permission of the land owner.Dress appropriately. Wear clothing in layers and always carry extra dry clothing with you.Carry a survival kit that includes: first aid kit; trail map and compass; matches or lighter in waterproof container; knife, saw or axe; flashlight and whistle; high energy food such as nuts or granola bars; and a mechanical kit that includes: spare spark plug and drive belt; tow rope; extra ignition key; screwdriver, wrenches and hammer; plus the owner's manual.Check the weather forecast before heading out. Contact the local snowmobile club to find out current trail and ice conditions.
For more information on safe snowmobiling, visit the Ministry of Transportation's website at: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/topics/snowmobile.shtml