Photographs of three fermentation barrels, a box of wine with the top showing, a glass of white wine being poured

Introduction

The regulations enacted pursuant to the Liquor Licence Act allow holders of ferment on premise and liquor delivery licences as well as special occasion permit holders to advertise liquor, the availability of liquor or other services they provide in relation to liquor, in accordance with the Registrar’s Advertising Guidelines.

These guidelines focus on specific issues regarding advertising liquor and provide interpretations of the various criteria set out in the regulations. The notes following each guideline assist in interpretation and are by no means exhaustive in their scope.

Although obtaining the prior approval of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for advertising by holders of ferment on premise and liquor delivery licences as well as special occasion permit holders is not necessary, it is their responsibility to ensure that advertising carrying its business or brand name, or endorsed by it, falls within the parameters set out in the regulations and in these guidelines.

Advertising that is beyond the permissible scope may result in disciplinary proceedings being initiated by the Registrar and/or the issuance of an order of cessation by the Registrar. Violations of the LLA or the regulations enacted there under may result in compliance or enforcement action.

Proposed advertising should be considered on the basis of both the express as well as any implied message, which is conveyed. The guidelines apply to all aspects of the advertisement such as the more obvious copy, graphics, lyrics, script and video, as well as the less obvious but influential aspects such as background music, voice inflection, etc.

Holders of ferment on premise and liquor delivery licences, or special occasion permit holders, are responsible for all advertising (including merchandise) bearing their identification including corporate or brand identification that is displayed or distributed by any person. This will include all authorized advertising done on a manufacturer’s or sales licensee’s behalf. Holders of ferment on premise and liquor delivery licences, or special occasion permit holders, are not responsible where it has not authorized advertising and has been diligent in its efforts at stopping the advertising once it has become aware of it.

Holders of ferment on premise, liquor delivery licences, or special occasion permit holders, must show they have exercised reasonable care and taken suitable precautions to ensure compliance.

Interpretations of the guidelines may be published from time to time.

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