Alcohol and Drugs

The regulations, restrictions and problems affecting teenagers in Canada...

The legal drinking age in Canada varies across provinces, and is 19 years everywhere except in Alberta, Quebec and Manitoba where it is 18 years. Buying or consuming alcohol is prohibited under the legal age, except in some provinces where drinking by 16 to 17 year olds may be permitted under parental supervision.


Drugs are illegal in Canada and possession of illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines all carry a jail sentence and fine. Trafficking of drugs carries hefty prison sentences and fines.

However, Canadian drug policy is now moving away from the war on drugs, as seen in the USA, to a more European based reduction model. Cannabis or marijuana is permitted for medicinal purposes in Canada and there are frequent debates about legalising cannabis. As a result of these moves, the Canadian legal system now allows reduced sentences for low level marijuana possession.

Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug in Canada and use among youth aged 15 to 24 years has been steadily increasing over the years, according to government statistics. Federal and provincial government is trying to tackle the problem of youth drug use through support groups, informing parents and youth about drug misuse and various national and provincial anti-drug strategies. The national anti-drug strategy provides information to both parents and teenagers about illegal drug use.

  • For more information on drugs, aimed at informing young people: Click here