Who has to be trained

Ontario law requires employees of retail stores who are involved in the sale, service or sampling of alcohol to complete a server training course approved by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). 

This requirement includes the following types of staff or personnel working in a grocery store or wine boutique:

  • Cashiers or those who process retail transactions at the point of sale.
  • Employees responsible for offering wine, beer or cider samples to customers. 
  • Employees who deal with customers in the wine boutique, as well as liquor manufacturer representatives or other individuals who conduct wine sampling in the boutique.
  • Managers and supervisors may also require training if their duties could require them to work at the cash from time to time.

In addition, any store employee who handles wine, beer or cider must be at least 18 years of age. This includes any employees who sell or stock alcohol on shelves, etc.

Staff are encouraged to carry a copy of their certification card while they are working.  AGCO Inspectors may ask for proof of a staff member’s certification at any time.

Smart Serve Training Program

Smart Serve® Ontario has been approved by the AGCO Board to develop and provide the Smart Serve® Training Program, and is currently the only approved server and sale training program in Ontario.

Please note that the AGCO still recognizes The Server Intervention Program certification issued prior to May 1995.

The Smart Serve® Training Program is available on video or on the Smart Serve® website at www.smartserve.ca.  For more information about the Smart Serve® Training Program, please contact:

Smart Serve Ontario
5407 Eglinton Avenue West, Unit 105
Toronto, ON M9C 5K6
Tel. 416-695-8737  Toll-Free 1-877-620-6082  Fax 416-695-0684

Website: www.smartserve.ca/  E-Mail: general@smartserve.ca