The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for administering the Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 (LLCA), which together with its regulations and the standards and requirements established by the Registrar establish the licensing and regulatory regime for most aspects relating to the sale, service and delivery of liquor in Ontario.
Among its responsibilities in the liquor sector, the AGCO licenses and regulates premises that sell or serve liquor to the public for on-site consumption. This includes premises such as bars, restaurants, lounges and night clubs, although there are no restrictions in the LLCA on the type of business that can apply for a Liquor Sales Licence. Certain types of liquor sales licensees are restricted from offering the takeout or delivery of liquor with food.
There are two classes of Licences to Operate a Liquor Consumption Premises:
- Liquor Sales Licence.
- Mini Bar Licence.
This Guide contains detailed information to assist you in applying for a Liquor Sales Licence, including a Tied House, and a Mini Bar Licence.
Responsibilities of a Liquor Sales Licence Holder
For further details about your legal responsibilities as a licence holder, refer to the Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019, its regulations and the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.
Prior to applying for a Liquor Sales Licence, please confirm with your local municipality to ensure that your premises is properly zoned for this purpose.
Most new Liquor Sales Licence applications will require public notice. For example, if you apply to license a premises that has never held a Liquor Sales Licence before, your application will require public notice. Public notice of a Liquor Sales Licence application has two parts:
- A placard (poster) will be e-mailed to you for you to print. The placard must be posted for the number of days specified at the premises in a location where members of the public can easily read it from the outside of the premises. The placard will specify whether the application is for indoor and/or outdoor licensed areas.
- The AGCO will post a public notice in iAGCO, the AGCO’s online services portal. Anyone can review these notices during the posting period by using the search tool in iAGCO.
The application process cannot be completed until both elements of public notice have been given. If the AGCO receives any public objections to the application, these objections must be resolved before the application can proceed any further. You will receive a copy of any objections, including the names of the people who have objected. The AGCO encourages residents and applicants to work out a satisfactory solution for all concerned.
If you are unable to resolve your neighbourhood concerns on your own, the AGCO may schedule a public meeting with you, depending on the nature of the objection(s), and a Deputy Registrar of the AGCO to see if you and the objector(s) are able to come to an agreement to resolve the issues. If the issues cannot be resolved, a public hearing will be scheduled before a member of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). LAT is an independent tribunal, part of Tribunals Ontario, and is not part of the AGCO.
If you are not sure whether your application requires public notice, please call AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876.
Responsible Liquor Sale, Service and Delivery Training
The Registrar’s Interim Standards and Requirements for Liquor (Interim Standards) require that licensees ensure that the following persons hold a valid certificate demonstrating successful completion of a training course approved by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO):
- 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; and
- Employees involved in the sale and service of liquor from motorized vending carts, as well as course marshals, for Golf Course Endorsement holders.
Licensees are encouraged to keep a copy of their employees’ certification. AGCO Inspectors may ask a licensee for proof of a staff member’s certification at any time.
For more information, please see the AGCO’s Responsible Liquor Sale, Service and Delivery Training page.
Fees and Payment
- Please refer to the AGCO’s Fee Schedule for the applicable fee.
- When using online services, payments must be made by Visa, MasterCard, Visa Debit or MasterCard Debit.
- Payments of $30,000 or more must be made by money wire transfer or electronic funds transfer. Please note that cheques and cash are not accepted as forms of payment when using iAGCO online services. For more information please contact AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876.
- All fees must be received by the AGCO before an application will be processed.
- All fees are non-refundable.
During the application process applicants will be required to identify the type of premises they will be operating. Please see Appendix C for a listing of premises types and descriptions.
Do not misrepresent or omit any material fact(s). Each statement made in your application is subject to verification. It is a serious offence to knowingly provide false information on the forms and on any attachments.
The provision of false, incomplete, or misleading information or the omission of information on the forms or in the documents submitted with your application, or the failure to notify the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario of any material changes to this information which occur after this application is filed, may also result in the refusal, suspension or revocation of your Liquor Sales Licence.
If you require assistance with your application, please contact AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876.