Holiday Parties - What hosts need to know


Hosting a holiday party is a great way to enjoy the festive season and catch up with family and friends. However, if alcohol is being served or consumed at your holiday party, it is even more important for you to be aware of your potential liability as a social host. Before planning your holiday event and sending out those invitations, it is a good idea to have a review of the law in Ontario with respect to social host liability. In addition, there is no substitute for consulting a lawyer for legal advice in advance of throwing a party.

The facts and circumstances of each and every party differ and, as such, so does the potential for being liable for the actions of your party guests. A rule of thumb is that it is best to error on the side of caution and avoid as far as is reasonably possible a motor vehicle accident or any other incident occurring as a result of a guest’s or employee’s intoxication. Taking all reasonable precautions to prevent personal injury is the goal. However, if you or someone you know was injured at a party or was injured by a guest attending a party, you are advised to discuss your legal options with a personal injury lawyer.

Nigel Gilby is a Partner at Lerners LLP. He has been recognized by Lexpert and the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in Civil Litigation. Nigel has been selected by his peers to appear in the “Best Lawyers in Canada” publication since its inception. Nigel can be contacted at 519-672-4510 or by e-mail at

Christopher Dawson is an Associate lawyer at Lerners LLP. Christopher can be contacted at 519-672-4510 or by email at


Topics:  Holiday Parties, Social Host Liability

Published In: Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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