How Much Can You Drink and Drive in Ontario in 2023

Drink and drive laws in Ontario Canada

Ontario’s permissible blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is below 80 mg or 0.08% gram, equivalent to two to three bottles of beer.

One of the main factors contributing to traffic fatalities is impaired driving. According to statistics, Ontario has 104 impaired driving incidents per 100,000 population. It is one of the lowest rates among the provinces in Canada.

However, this does not mean that the Canadian government should be complacent. Ontario has impaired driving laws in place to regulate motorists in the province.

Please keep in mind that this post’s primary goal is to provide information. We do not recommend drinking a particular amount of alcohol and driving. We strongly advise against driving while intoxicated in any way.

We strongly advise you to utilize a cab, Uber, or designated driving service even if you only consume the allowable amount of alcohol.

Visit the province’s official website to stay informed about drink-driving regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Ontario

As mentioned, the legal BAC when driving in Ontario is below 80 mg or 0.08% gram. Any amount beyond this limit is punishable under the law.

Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is influenced by the number of drinks you’ve had, how far apart they were, and how long it’s been since you last drank.

The average rate of metabolism—the rate at which alcohol is wholly metabolized and removed from the blood—will typically be slower the smaller a person is.

The effects of drinking and the rate at which the BAC returns to normal can differ. Here are some illustrations for better understanding:

  • After one drink, a man weighing 100 pounds will have a blood alcohol level of 0.04. He will have a BAC of 0.02 if he consumes it for more than an hour and a blood alcohol level of 0.01 if he consumes it for more than two hours. He won’t have a 0.00 BAC until three hours.
  • After one drink, a male weighing 150 pounds will have a blood alcohol level of 0.03. He will have a blood alcohol level of 0.01 if he consumes it for more than an hour and 0.00 if he consumes it for more than two hours.
  • After one drink, a male weighing 200 pounds will have a blood alcohol level of 0.02. He will have a BAC of 0.003 if he consumes it for more than an hour and 0.00 after two hours.

A typical drink in Canada has 13.45 grams of pure alcohol or 17.05 milliliters — this is comparable to the following:

  • One bottle of beer (12 oz., 341 ml, 5% alcohol)
  • One glass of wine (5 oz., 142 ml, 12% alcohol)
  • One shot glass of spirits (1.5 oz., 43 ml, 40% alcohol)

It is vital to remember that alcohol has different effects on people. While studies suggest how much alcohol you can have to reach a certain BAC amount, it is not applicable and accurate for everyone.

The most effective method to determine your BAC level is using a breathalyzer.

Drink and Drive Punishment in Ontario

Because impaired driving is Canada’s leading criminal cause of death, the government has imposed penalties and punishments on lawbreakers.

Here are some penalties you may have if you have been proven to violate the allowable BAC limit for driving.

  • instant suspension of licenses
  • costs for fines and reinstatement
  • enrolment in a program for education or therapy
  • vehicle confiscation
  • more severe punishments after conviction

When Can You Drink and Drive in Ontario?

Again, alcohol effects may vary for each person. Although if you are wondering how much alcohol you can consume and stay within the legal BAC limit, here is a short definitive guide for you. BAC calculator can give you an idea.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Have and Drive in Ontario?

A 100-pound (45-kg) male could have a blood alcohol content of around 0.09% after consuming two beers (80 proof = 40% alcohol) in one hour. On the other hand, a woman of the same weight who drank the same quantity in the same period could have a blood alcohol content of 0.10%.

How Much Wine Can You Drink and Drive in Ontario?

Like beers, drinking one to two glasses of wine within one hour is the consumption limit to stay within the allowable BAC for driving in Ontario. 

Two glasses of wine can result in 0.08% BAC in a woman weighing 120 pounds (54 kg). In contrast, a man who weighs the same and consumes the same amount in the same duration can have 0.07% BAC.

How Many Shots of Vodka or Whiskey Can You Drink and Drive in Ontario?

One shot glass (1.5 oz., 43 ml) of spirits typically has 40% alcohol. Thus, one shot for a man weighing 100 pounds (45 kilos) in an hour is enough to be able to drive in Ontario.

Stick to Drink and Drive Laws in Ontario

Even if you have just had a few shots or bottles, it is still preferable to avoid driving. While there is a legal limit for blood alcohol content, every person reacts differently to alcohol.

Instead of drinking and driving, appoint a driver. If there isn’t a designated driver available, leave your car at home for the night and think about using a taxi, the public transit system, a ride-hailing service, or calling a friend.

If driving after drinking is unavoidable, ensure that your BAC is within the legal limit according to the most recent legislation on the state or province’s official website. To accurately assess the level of alcohol in your blood, always use a reliable breathalyzer.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.

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