Revised and Expanded: “Liquor and Cannabis Liability Law in Canada”

September 6, 2023

Revised and Expanded: “Liquor and Cannabis Liability Law in Canada”

Dolden Wallace Folick LLP, in collaboration with Thomson Reuters, is excited to announce the publication of Liquor and Cannabis Liability Law in Canada, 2d ed., by Lorne Folick, Michael Libby KC, and Paul Dawson.

Originally published in 2010 as Liquor and Host Liability Law in Canada, this book was the first comprehensive study on liquor liability law in Canada. The second edition is thoroughly updated to include dozens of additional cases. A new chapter addresses the liability risks faced by vendors and distributors of cannabis since its legalization and how those risks compare to those arising from the sale and distribution of liquor. A second new chapter reviews the use of insurance to mitigate the risks arising from the provision of liquor and cannabis products.

The book outlines the changing social and policy values that underpin Canadian jurisprudence concerning the provision and consumption of alcohol, but its focus is eminently practical, asking “in what circumstances will a party be found liable for injuries from the provision of liquor or cannabis?”

Much of the book focuses on commercial hosts, such as bars, cabarets, restaurants, etc., and on commercial vendors of cannabis products. Commercial hosts have a “special relationship” with their patrons, arising from the tension between the commercial incentive to encourage consumption and the vulnerability of patrons (and the public at large) to injury arising from over-consumption. Separate chapters review injuries arising from the condition of hosts’ premises; assaults by other patrons; and the use of force by security staff.

The book also reviews various forms of non-commercial relationship-based liability, e.g., where intoxicated persons are placed in the care of others (such as taxis, the police, or volunteers). A small but growing number of cases arise from the consumption of alcohol or cannabis in the workplace, or at employment-related events. Yet another chapter examines social host liability, in which injuries arise from the consumption of liquor or cannabis in private settings.

A newly added chapter examines the potential liability of the cannabis retailers who have mushroomed across Canada since legalization five years ago. Commercial hosts, vendors, the courts, insurers, and the public at large are starting to assess how and when liability might arise from cannabis consumption. This book provides some early insights into how this area of law might evolve.

Lastly, another new chapter examines how insurance mitigates and distributes the risks inherent in the sale and consumption of liquor and cannabis. It discusses the roles insurance plays in Canada’s tort law regime; considers how such risks are covered or excluded under standard types of liability insurance; and reviews key coverage provisions and exclusions in policies crafted specifically for commercial hosts and vendors of liquor and cannabis products.

Liquor and Cannabis Liability Law in Canada, 2d ed., is now available for purchase from Thomson Reuters. For more information, please contact Lorne Folick (604.891.0352, [email protected]).

For further information or if you have any questions about the above, please contact the authors: Lorne Folick, Dolden Vancouver, Email: [email protected], Michael Libby, KC, Dolden Vancouver, Email: [email protected], and Paul Dawson, Dolden Vancouver, Email: [email protected].

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