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Windsor, Ont., bar limits clientele to 21+ during some hours

The sign outside the Kildare House in Windsor, Ont., states an age restriction for the bar on Fridays and Saturdays. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
The sign outside the Kildare House in Windsor, Ont., states an age restriction for the bar on Fridays and Saturdays. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

A sign outside the Kildare House at Wyandotte Street East and Kildare Road spells out the the policy: After 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the pub only lets in those who are 21 and over.

Staff at the bar have been restricting entrance at certain times of the year claiming younger crowds are too rowdy and sneaking in their own drinks.

CBC has been unable to reach the bar's owner. But some young people who spoke with us say such policies are unfair.

Andrei Grigorescu, who is 21, says he tried to get in with 19-year-old friends who were turned away.

"I just kind of figured they wanted a bit more mature crowd," Grigorescu said. "But at the end of the day, business is business and if you're a legal drinking age in Canada...I don't exactly think it's fair and it kind of puts some complications in the night for me and my friends because, you know, we wanted to go to one of the only Irish bars I knew about in the city."

Kayla Bennett also described the policy as unfair.

"Especially since we do live in Ontario...once you're over 19 you're allowed to go in," she said.

Marco Mastroianni, who is also 19, said he and his friends once to change plans they had to go to the pub.

"Anyone older than 21 can cause a fight too," he said.

The owner of a downtown Windsor nightclub says age restrictions are the prerogative of bar owners.

"It's your own liquor licence. It's a private business, so you're able to serve whoever you want," said Andrew Corbett, the co-owner of Disco Inferno on Ouellette Avenue. Disco Inferno, which caters to an older crowd, also has a 21-plus policy.

CBC News is seeking clarity from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) about whether  bars are allowed to restrict people they serve alcohol to based on age.

In an email from the AGCO, a communications staff member wrote, "The AGCO Registrar would consider any relevant findings made by the Ontario Human Rights Commission and/or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario as they relate to the regulatory responsibilities of a liquor licence holder."

Lawyer says policy violates human rights code

Raj Anand, a lawyer and former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, says prohibiting access to 19 and 20 year olds violates the Ontario Human Rights Code.

"The Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on age for individuals who are over 18," said Anand. The exception is the Liquor Licence and Control Act, which sets the legal drinking age at 19.

Anand said the code states anyone 18 and older can't be denied services based on age, and that includes bars and restaurants.

"Any organization, the CBC or my law firm or anyone else can create rules, but the rules don't override the statutory laws of Ontario," said Anand.

Anand said other than complaining to the bar owner or the AGCO, a person could bring a complaint forward to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, but it would take a long time for an adjudication.

But he said if the tribunal agrees with the complainant, the AGCO should enforce the code with the establishment owner.