Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs


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Queen's students hold great (and incident-free) parties throughout the year, but there are some key facts and resources you should know about when hosting a party, from staying within the law and liability to being a responsible host. Learn more from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Responsible Hosting

Responsible hosting is about more than just avoiding noise and liquor law violations. Here are some tips for party hosting that will help keep you and your guests safe and having a good time.

  • Make sure you know who is invited to your party. Monitor who actually attends.
  • Avoid glass bottles.
  • Keep the event in specific areas. Protect your own space and belongings (if possible, lock your rooms with your valuables in them), and check your lease to find out whether or not areas like your yard and walkway are included.
  • Close off access to your roof and balconies.
  • Follow the noise bylaw; keep amplified music in your house.
  • Have snacks and non-alcoholic beverages on hand for guests.
  • Remember that if you provide alcohol to anyone attending your gathering, you can be held legally responsible for their well-being until they sober up.

Selling Alcohol

The Ontario Liquor License Act authorizes the sale of alcohol only from those who have a license or permit for doing so: i.e. bars, pubs, nightclubs, and liquor retail outlets like the Beer Store and LCBO. Selling alcohol without a permit is illegal. Even if you are not charging guests for alcohol directly, any related fees (tickets, coat check, etc.) that pay for the cost of the alcohol is a violation of Ontario laws.

The real cost of hosting an unlicensed party in your home:

  • Seizure and forfeiture of all alcohol, apparatus and money
  • Fines up to a maximum of $200,000
  • Monitored attendance at a police-run alcohol education course
  • Lawsuit if a guest injures themselves or others
  • Eviction from house for carrying on an illegal act
  • Investigation and possible sanction under non-academic discipline at Queen’s
  • Criminal record that may interfere with professional accreditation when you graduate.

Attending an unlicensed party is risky too!

  • Possible fines for drinking under-age, public intoxication, noise …
  • A night in lock-up at the Kingston Police Department
  • Investigation and possible sanction under non-academic discipline at Queen’s
  • Regret, embarrassment or perhaps harm arising from your choices

In addition to fines or penalties imposed by by-law services or police, students are reminded that the Queen's Code of Conduct (PDF, 157KB) applies both on and off campus.

Group Socials

Parties and socials are often held to celebrate a special event and/or to unite/reunite members of a particular team, group, or club.

Sometimes the parties involve high-risk drinking and increased pressure to drink, particularly if events or "initiations" are centered on alcohol-based games or excessive drinking.

Many students report feeling pressure to drink and participate in these unsafe drinking practices, when they really don't want to.

Be aware, and remember that nobody should ever feel like membership in a particular community or group hinges on being willing to get drunk or take risks.

Street Parties

Street parties are illegal unless you have a permit from the city to close the street. Even if a street is closed, it is illegal to drink alcohol on unlicensed public property.

Community Standards

Community standards in Queens’ near campus neighbourhoods are a combination of laws, regulations and other clearly written rules plus other, unwritten, rules that should be reasonably inferred using the average person’s judgment. 

There are written rules that: govern the sale of alcohol; limit the amount of noise you can make; specify what behaviour will result in being arrested; and outline expectations for conduct by Queen’s students off campus. 

Unwritten rules often relate to location-specific behaviours. The average person should know to self-regulate some behaviours in the presence of children or in the vicinity of hospitals, places of worship and schools. 

Living off-campus means learning and following both the written and unwritten rules.