Local Laws and Regulations

Alcohol/Liquor Laws
The legal drinking age in British Columbia (BC) is 19; the sale of alcohol to people under 19 is prohibited. Establishments where alcohol is served may request proof of age before serving customers.

Alcohol is sold at government-operated liquor stores. Cold beer, wine and a limited quantity of spirits are also sold at beer and wine stores.

A US driver’s licence is valid in Canada. However, if you are visiting from any other country you must apply for an International Driving Permit from an automobile association in your country of residence before you leave, which should allow you to rent and drive a car in Canada.

In Canada as a Whole:

  • Speed limits are posted in kilometres per hour
  • Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and all passengers
  • Pedestrians have the right-of-way and drivers must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
  • It is a criminal offence to operate or be in the care or control of a vehicle — whether in motion or not — with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 per cent
  • Drivers must carry proof of insurance at all times

Important Road Safety Advice

  1. Drivers must keep to the right.
  2. It is compulsory for the driver and all passengers to wear seat belts.
  3. Children travelling in moving vehicles must be properly secured either in infant safety seats or booster seats designed for carrying children.
  4. On highways or freeways with more than two lanes in either direction, you should drive in the centre or right-hand lane, leaving the left-hand lane for higher-speed traffic and passing vehicles.

Alcohol and Driving

  1. The legal alcohol limit is 0.08 per cent blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers.
  2. Random breath testing applies and there are heavy penalties (including imprisonment) for driving while over the legal limit.
  3. You may be prohibited from driving if a police officer considers that drugs or alcohol have affected your ability to drive; you do not have to have a BAC level of over 0.08 per cent.

Speed Limits

  1. The speed limit in BC is 50 kilometres per hour unless otherwise posted.
  2. Police regularly conduct speed tests along all types of roads using radar and laser technology.

Pedestrian Right of Way
Pedestrians have the right-of-way and drivers must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

Sales Tax
In BC there is a provincial sales tax of seven per cent levied on the selling price of most items. In addition, a goods and services tax of five per cent is levied by the federal government on the selling price of a wide range of products.

Tobacco Laws
Smoking is prohibited within six metres of government buildings, schools and many other establishments. For more information, see Smoke-free Games.

It is prohibited to sell tobacco products to anyone under 19 years of age. Proof of age may be required before a sale can be made.

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