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Your Personal Safety In Canada

Be aware, stay safe! The following is provided for general information only.


The minimum legal drinking age in Canada is 19.
Except in: Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon where it is 18.

Canada has recently lowered the legal limit for blood alcohol while operating a motor vehicle: if you drink and drive while under the influence of alcohol, under Canadian law you are likely committing a criminal offense.

“Arrive Alive! Don’t Drink and Drive!” notices are part of a public campaign in Canada to stop the deadly practice of driving after consuming alcohol. So, if you are going out drinking with friends, heed its advice. Either choose an individual to be a designated driver who agrees to refrain from drinking alcohol for the evening …take a cab home …or, use public transportation.

Also note, unlike some countries, you are not permitted to drink alcohol in open public places (i.e. outside of a licensed area like a bar, patio or restaurant). Your insurance policy may also deny any expenses you submit that are associated with an injury sustained while under the influence of alcohol.


The minimum legal smoking age in Canada is 18 or 19 depending on the province. The enforcement of smoking laws in various Canadian municipalities can also vary.

You will see No Smoking signs posted in public places across Canada. By law, smoking is prohibited indoors in office buildings, restaurants, bars, shops and most other public spaces.

Be courteous before deciding to smoke in private homes or apartments: always ask permission first.


In Canada, it is illegal to possess, use or sell marijuana, hashish or other “recreational” drugs. The penalties for doing so are severe. Avoid any activity that will result in spending your working holiday in a Canadian prison.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

STDs are international travelers too. Diseases can be contracted by engaging in unprotected sex with an infected person or by sharing injection needles with people who carry the virus. To protect yourself and your partner, always use a latex condom. These are available from some public health clinics, at no cost, and in all drugstores or convenience stores.

Download the full Guide For Participants Coming To Canada (PDF* 570 KB) brochure.

For more information about International Experience Canada, please contact us.

* If you require a plug-in or third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.


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