Wine with Christmas Dinner is Legal for Minors on PEI

I was reading the interesting web page Are You Old Enough?, on the Province of PEI’s website when I came across this passage in a section about alcohol:

If you are under 19, a parent or spouse can give you an alcoholic drink like a glass of wine with Christmas dinner.

I was curious to find the legislative backstop for this statement, and so scoured the Liquor Control Act, where I found what I was looking for.

Section 40 starts off with a blanket ban on supplying liquor to those under 19 years old:

No person shall knowingly sell, give or otherwise supply liquor to any person under the age of nineteen years…

Later, however, there is section 40.6, Exception re minors:

This section does not apply in the case of liquor given to a person under the age of nineteen years by his parent, guardian, or spouse for beverage purposes, or administered to him by a medical practitioner or dentist for medical purposes.

This, then, is the “glass of wine with Christmas dinner” exemption.

The year one spends as an 18 year old–just 8 months away for our Oliver–is a odd Sargasso Sea of an age.

Once you turn 18, you’re allowed to vote, get married, see explicit movies, get intimate body piercings, and get tattoos.

But you must wait until you’re 19 until you’re allowed to purchase alcohol, buy cigarettes, gamble or buy lottery tickets.

Regardless, it’s nice to find that we’ll be able to have wine with our Christmas dinner this year and not feel like we’re breaking the law by pouring some for Oliver.


Derek MacEwen's picture
Derek MacEwen on December 20, 2017 - 16:49 Permalink

When I was in university here in the 1970's, the legal drinking age WAS 18. It got changed at some point after, presumably to agree with other provinces. As of now, only Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec remain at 18.
The advantage of 18 was that most 1st year post-secondary students were of legal drinking age, which undoubtedly helped with their "fitting-in" (and with campus beer sales). However, now there is more of a "duty to accommodate" both those who are not of age, and those who choose not to drink.

Sandy 's picture
Sandy on December 21, 2017 - 08:46 Permalink

Derek, I can tell you that the law changed July 1, 1987. I don't normally remember such details, but this law seemed to have a huge impact on my first year and a half of university. I graduated from high school at the age of 17 in 1987. The majority of my friends had already turned 18 at this point. If you were 18 before July 1 that year, you were of legal drinking age. If you turned 18 after that date, you had to wait until you turned 19 which for me was almost a year and a half after my friends. Tragic for a first year university student's social life not being able to accompany your friends to bars and clubs.

Timothy's picture
Timothy on December 21, 2017 - 18:32 Permalink

Notably, the provision is not Christmas specific. If you want to serve Oliver wine or other alcohol at home for any occasion, the law permits such consumption!

Laurent Beaulieu's picture
Laurent Beaulieu on December 21, 2017 - 21:03 Permalink

Sir Andrew MacPhail in his book The Master's wife says a tradition in his parents house (they were Presbyterians) in Orwell, children were given a glass of brandy at Xmas time by an uncle who was a sea captain who travelled the world. The small glass was filled with sugar and the brandy poured into it until the sugar was dissolved. Sir Andrew says all the children loved it. Quite the drink back then in 1880.