Q. What is the AGCO Mystery Shop Program?

A: The Mystery Shop Program is a compliance tool employed by the AGCO where mystery shoppers pose as customers to assess compliance and gather information on AGCO’s licensees. The program helps the AGCO to identify the risk profiles of its licensees which then allows the AGCO to allocate inspection and educational outreach resources based on risk.

Q. Why does the AGCO have a Mystery Shop Program?

A. The AGCO is dedicated to regulating in the public interest by, among other things, ensuring compliance in the sectors it regulates and mitigating risks to public safety and protection of minors.

As part of its regulatory activities, the AGCO engages with licensees and registrants in an educational approach to help ensure they are compliant with applicable legislation, regulations, and Registrar’s Standards. This approach includes additional compliance tools such as the Mystery Shop Program which helps the AGCO to assess risks and informs future inspection and compliance activities.

Q. When was the AGCO Mystery Shop Program established?

A. The AGCO Mystery Shop Program was established in 2017, following the introduction of beer, cider and wine sales in grocery stores.

Q. How does the AGCO Mystery Shop Program work?

A. The AGCO engages the services of a third-party vendor to assist with the Mystery Shop Program. Under the program, youthful-looking adult ‘mystery shoppers’ enter a licensed premise (such as a grocery store) and attempt to purchase liquor. The program supports organizational compliance activities by enabling the AGCO to determine if grocery store employees are checking identification.

Q. Is the AGCO Mystery Shop Program used in all of the sectors that the AGCO regulates?

A. Since its introduction in the grocery store liquor retail sector, the AGCO’s Mystery Shop Program has expanded to enhance compliance in other regulated sectors including cannabis retail stores, casinos, The Beer Store, and liquor licensed premises such as restaurants and bars.

Q. What are AGCO licensees’ responsible service requirements?

A. Licensees that operate casinos and sell or serve liquor or sell cannabis are reminded that: 

  • Customers must be 19 years of age to:
    • Enter or remain in a gaming site
    • Purchase and consume liquor
    • Enter a retail area and purchase cannabis.
  • Liquor licensees must ensure that the following people hold a valid Smart Serve certificate: every person involved in the sale, service, sampling or delivery of liquor or in taking orders for the sale of liquor; security staff whom the Licensee employs or, in the case of a stadium, uses; employees involved in the sale and service of liquor from motorized vending carts, as well as course marshals, for Golf Course Endorsement holders. In the case of cannabis licensees, employees must be CannSell certified if they are involved in the sale of cannabis.
  • In a cannabis store, the legislation states that any person who appears 25 years and younger must be asked for identification.  
Q. Where can I go for more information?

A. For more information on the AGCO’s Mystery Shop Program please contact customer.service@agco.ca.

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