Planning on hosting a BBQ this summer?
There is an increasing recognition by party hosts that they should be proactive in ensuring that guests don't drink and drive. Or get high and drive home.
What, though, is the legal obligation of a party host, if any?
Hosts have not traditionally been legally responsible for the actions of their guests after the party's over. The obligations of a party's host have evolved in recent years due to an increasing awareness of the risks of drinking and driving. The Supreme Court of Canada has also weighed in.
In Childs v. Desormeaux, a car accident following a new year's eve party resulted in deadly injuries and a lawsuit against the party host.
The Court ultimately held that the party hosts were not responsible for the actions of their drunken party guest, but provided some cautionary guidance to party hosts:
*If you have a drunken party guest, make sure they get their way home in a cab;
*Keep minors away from the beer cooler; and
*Don't take active steps to get your guests inebriated (save the shooters for the cottage).
Party on this summer! But be a safe party guest or host.
For more tips on a safe summer party see the "MADD - Safe Party Tips" guide here: http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/safe-party/