Smart Serve sets drinking limits

Servers and managers at LinX at Humber College’s North campus are obliged under provincial law to cease serving to clearly intoxicated customers. Ontario’s Smart Serve program promotes civil responsibilities for drinking that include bars. Photo by Alejandra Fretes

Jalisa Massiah
News Reporter

LinX bartenders at Humber College’s North campus know their limits and want their customer to know their’s, too.

“As a bartender you need to know the signs of intoxication, which is a big part of Smart Serve,” said Ian Archer, LinX bartender and Hotel and Restaurant Management student at Humber.

Smart Serve is a provincially mandated education program for alcohol servers. It was launched in 1995 to encourage responsible alcohol service.

“Obvious signs of intoxication are stumbling, slurring their words and red eyes,” Archer added. “What you want to do is slow their consumption of alcohol down, offer them water and to an extreme point, cut them off and let them know they’ve had too much to drink.”

The law in Ontario is that liquor establishments may not permit drunkenness, illegal gambling or violence.

“We have dealt with quite a few incidents where students are drunk, but with the amount of staff LinX has we are able to deal with the situation quickly and efficiently,” Archer said.

He said as a bartender it’s his responsibility to take care of the people he serves alcohol to, so knowing when to order a taxi is key.

“If they run out of the bar and get into an accident, as the bartender you are fully liable, it’s a pretty serious situation,” Archer said.

“Another good thing to offer besides water to a customer that’s intoxicated is food.It absorbs a lot of the alcohol already in their system and slows down the consumption of it within their body.”

Humber has one liquor license for all of its campuses. LinX is Humber’s only campus pub, although The Humber Room also serves alcohol in its restaurant setting.

“I think school is stressful and a lot of people come here to get stress off of their head,” said Eric Ivy, a LinX bartender and first-year Culinary Management student.

“They have issues getting homework done and managing their time,” she adds.

“Once you’ve breached your regulation – the regulations are the provincial law – and you continue to serve (an intoxicated person) you are liable under the Liquor License Act for breaking that law,” said Steve Duggan, Police Foundations coordinator at Humber.

In a long chain of responsibility, the bartender is civilly liable not only to the impaired customer, but also anyone they hurt.

“Therefore you are liable for any punishment that fits that breach under the Liquor License Act, but bartenders are also civilly liable for anything that happens to that individual to whom they’ve served that alcohol to, or any third party that is injured by the person who received the alcohol,” said Duggan.

He said if they over-served a customer and that person operates a vehicle, the bartender along with the pub owner may also be responsible under the Criminal Code.

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