With the elimination of OAC from the high school curriculum in 2002-03, the Ontario government took a bold step to cut costs and fast track its students into university.
Four years later, the province should take another bold step and examine the feasibility of lowering the legal drinking age in Ontario from 19 to 18.
There are many reasons why it would be wise for the government to lower the legal drinking age but the most important is looking after the safety of Ontario residents.
Not all individuals require alcohol to socialize, but, realistically, most people experiment with alcohol at some point in their lives. With this in mind, the government should consider the safest places for young adults to have their initial experiences with alcohol.
While not all parents support their kids consuming alcohol, home gives young people a safe place to return to after a night of drinking and someone to take care of them.
Some parents may even let their children throw parties where alcohol consumption can be controlled and everyone will be supervised.
On the other hand, if students enter university having never taken a sip of alcohol and have only heard of its “lure,” they are more likely to place themselves in a compromising position when drinking with people they hardly know in residence or at a student house party.
Most importantly, if people have experience with alcohol before coming to university, they can establish their limits with booze. While some individuals can cap their consumption at a reasonable number of drinks, others may decide after a few experiences that they would rather enjoy life stone-cold sober.
Lowering the drinking age to 18 makes sense given the majority of the freshman class entering university is now under 19.
Students moving from home and into a new school are expected to be equipped with the tools to live on their own, the tools to succeed in school and the tools to face new social situations. Lowering the drinking age will better equip first year students with the latter of those tools.