Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Alcohol and the Law


Responsibility off the Premises

Responsibility off the premises

Apart from the duty of care owed to patrons while they are on the premises, a licensee and its staff owe a duty of care to patrons who are leaving the premises, as well as to the general public who may be affected by those patrons’ conduct. Even though a patron may have left the premises, the licensee’s responsibility may not end until that patron gets home or to another place and is able to sober up.

The duty of care includes taking all reasonable steps to prevent harm that could result from alcohol being consumed on your premises. Although reasonable steps will vary depending on the circumstances, a licensee and its staff should

  1. take a hands-on approach when it appears that intoxicated patrons may be intending to drive.
  2. take comments or concerns raised by other patrons seriously.
  3. follow up with intoxicated patrons who appear to be heading for a vehicle.
  4. not hesitate to call a taxi and watch that person get into the taxi and leave the premises if there is any doubt that an intoxicated person has a safe ride home.
  5. call the police if an intoxicated person insists on driving home.

Licensees and staff have a responsibility for both a patron's safety and the safety of others whom the patron may affect. When patrons or the public suffer as a result of what they believe is negligence on the part of a licensed establishment, they may sue.