The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) employs a risk-based approach when issuing and regulating liquor sales licences. This is referred to as risk-based licensing.  This allows the AGCO to encourage good business practices throughout the industry and to strategically focus regulatory resources where they will make the most difference.

Although there is always some risk attached to the sale and service of alcohol, the AGCO recognizes that because of their type of business, location, compliance history, experience, etc., some establishments pose a greater risk to public safety, to the public interest and/or to non-compliance with the law. Risk-based licensing is part of the AGCO’s regulatory approach to focus decision-making based on risk assessments, and focus on compliance rather than solely on enforcement.

Overall, risk-based licensing is helpful for liquor sales licensees as it assists them in operating their establishments in a safe and responsible way, and in compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act and its regulations.

The authority to carry out risk-based licensing is given to the AGCO under Section 9 of the Liquor Licence and Control Act.

How Risk-Based Licensing Works

There are four key principles behind risk-based licensing:

  1. To identify persons or places that pose specific risks to public safety or the public interest;
  2. To lessen any risks and ensure compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act through the entire lifecycle of a liquor licence;
  3. To reduce the administrative burden for those who pose a lower risk, where possible; and
  4. To focus more AGCO resources on those establishments that pose greater risks.

The application of risk-based licensing can occur at any point in the lifecycle of a liquor licence, and is a three step process:

  1. After an application is received, an assessment process takes place. During the initial application review, the Registrar uses AGCO Board-approved criteria to assess the risk(s) posed to public safety and public interest, and of non-compliance with the law.
    • Criteria relating to licensees/applicants are: past conduct, liquor-related infractions, honesty and integrity, financial responsibility, and training and experience.
    • Criteria relating to the premises are: type, location, occupancy, activities and hours of operation.
  2. After reviewing all the available information on both the licensee/applicant and the establishment, the Registrar assesses the risks and determines if the licence should have a Level I, Level II or Level III risk designation, or no designation.
    • If the Registrar believes that no conditions need to be placed on a licence, or if a licensee has taken steps on their own to recognize and manage any risks, then the Registrar will most likely assess the licence as having no designation. These establishments will see no change in the way that their licences are administered.
  3. If the Registrar believes that a licensee may need more assistance and support to remain compliant with the Liquor Licence and Control Act (for example, by placing conditions on the licence, or by focusing more of the AGCO´s resources on the licensee and the establishment), then the establishment will be designated at Level I, Level II or Level III.
    • If the Registrar designates an establishment at Level I, Level II or Level III, they may attach certain conditions (from among those approved by the AGCO Board for this purpose) to the liquor licence to help address the identified risks.

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During the lifetime of a licence, the Registrar can reassess the risk posed by the licensee. This reassessment can occur either because the licensee requests a reassessment, or because the Registrar becomes aware that there has been a change in circumstances and there should be a reassessment. At each of these times the Registrar may add, remove or amend one or more conditions.

Below is a complete list of these conditions, as approved by the AGCO Board specifically for this purpose.

 

Risk Based Licensing Criteria and Conditions

Part A: Criteria

Licence Holder

Premise

• Past conduct

• Liquor-related infractions

• Honesty and integrity

• Financial responsibility

• Experience and training

• Type

• Location

• Occupancy

• Activities

• Hours of operation

Part B: Conditions

Prohibited Person(s)

  1. The holder of the licence shall ensure that the following individual(s) is/are not permitted to enter or be at or adjacent to the premises: NAME(S)
  2. The holder of the licence shall ensure the following persons have no involvement in the business operations of the licensed establishment, including as an officer, director, shareholder or owner and have no beneficial or financial interest in the business or ongoing operations of the licence: NAMES
  3. The holder of the licence shall not employ the following persons in any capacity, including as manager, security personnel, service staff, or other function: NAMES

Compliance

  1. The holder of the licence shall file in writing with the Registrar by DATE the measures that the holder has in place to deter disorderly conduct on property adjacent to and in the vicinity of the premises and to minimize damage, nuisance or other harm to such property arising out of disorderly conduct engaged in by patrons or persons attempting or waiting to enter the premises or leave the premises.
  2. The holder of the licence shall notify the Registrar within 5 business days of any changes to the structure or employment of the management of the licensee.
  3. The holder of the licence shall comply with any terms, conditions or other requirements of any business or similar licence, permit or authorization issued by any governmental authority, including a municipal or regional government.
  4. The holder of the licence shall ensure that the premises is being managed by an individual approved by the Registrar and shall immediately notify the Registrar when an approved manager ceases employment.
  5. The holder of the licence shall not employ any person as a manager or in a similar position without first notifying the Registrar in writing.
  6. The holder of the licence shall post clear signage at every exit point from licensed areas into unlicensed areas to indicate that liquor is not permitted past those points.
  7. The holder of the licence shall retain a person approved by the Registrar to assist in the management of the premises and its operations for a period of XX month(s), commencing DATE, and shall immediately notify the Registrar if the approved person ceases employment within the specified period.
  8. The holder of the licence shall ensure that it operates the premises in compliance with the policies of the franchisor, including policies with respect to security, sale and service of liquor, the licensee’s internal controls and training of staff.
  9. The holder of the licence shall have in place and comply with the internal controls of the licensee that are approved in writing by the Registrar.

Honesty, Integrity and Financial Responsibility

  1. The holder of the licence shall notify the Registrar within 5 business days of any charges, convictions or findings of guilt under any legislation with respect to (i) the premises, (ii) the holder of the licence, (iii) a manager, (iv) a person interested in the holder of the licence.

Hours of Operation

  1. The holder of the licence shall sell and serve liquor only between the hours of XX YY(am/pm) to ZZ MM(am/pm).
  2. The holder of the licence shall not sell or serve and shall not permit consumption of liquor after XX YY(am/pm) on the patio or any other licensed outdoor areas.

Intoxication

  1. The holder of the licence shall sell and serve liquor only in single serving containers of no more than 341ml (12oz) of beer, cider or cooler, 29ml (1oz) of spirits, 142ml (5oz) of wine and 85ml (3oz) of fortified wine.
  2. The holder of the licence shall sell or serve liquor in serving sizes of no more than 85ml (3oz) of spirits, 1.8l (60oz) of beer, cider or cooler, 1l (34oz) of wine and 750ml (25oz) of fortified wine.
  3. The holder of the licence shall not serve more than two single servings of liquor at a time to a patron in the auditorium of the motion picture theatre, with each single serving being defined as 341ml (12oz) of beer, cider or cooler, 29ml (1oz) of spirits, 142ml (5oz) of wine and 85ml (3oz) of fortified wine.
  4. The holder of the licence shall ensure approved self-serve systems provided to patrons have automatic mechanical controls that require server intervention and assessment of the patrons’ current state after XXXX ml (YYYY oz) of beer, AAAA ml (BBBB oz) of wine or CCCC ml (DDDD oz) of spirits before any additional liquor service takes place.
  5. The holder of the licence shall ensure approved self-serve systems maintain a built-in and accurate recording of all liquor service for XX X days that is available for immediate inspection upon request.
  6. The holder of the licence shall not sell or serve spirits by the bottle.

Minors

  1. The holder of the licence shall ensure that the identification of every patron who appears to be under the age of 25 years is checked and verified.
  2. The holder of the licence shall ensure that no person under the age of 19 years enters the premises.
  3. The holder of the licence shall inform the Registrar in writing no later than 10 business days prior to any event or activities that will or may include persons under the age of 19 years in attendance at the premises.
  4. The holder of the licence shall not permit patrons less than 19 years of age into the auditorium of the motion picture theatre during screenings when the possession and consumption of liquor is allowed.
  5. The holder of the licence shall not permit patrons less than 19 years of age into the auditorium of the motion picture theatre at any time.
  6. The holder of the licence shall ensure that the area of the establishment designated for checking identification has sufficient lighting for that purpose.
  7. The holder of the licence shall ensure that no person under the age of 19 years is permitted entry into the following prohibited licensed areas of the establishment as designated by the Registrar: [AREAS]

Noise

  1. The holder of the licence shall not provide or permit amplified music or other forms of entertainment in outdoor areas or to be directed towards outdoor areas.
  2. The holder of the licence shall immediately notify the Registrar of any charges laid and/or tickets issued to the licensee in relation to contraventions of noise bylaws.
  3. The holder of the licence shall ensure that no live or amplified music is played in outdoor area(s), or is directed towards outdoor area(s), after XX YY(am/pm).
  4. The holder of the licence shall not provide or permit music or other forms of entertainment in outdoor areas or to be directed towards outdoor areas.
  5. The holder of the licence shall ensure that liquor is only sold and served XXX(mins/hrs) before the boat departs from the dock and until YYY (mins/hrs) before the boat is expected to arrive at the dock.
  6. The holder of the licence shall ensure that liquor is not sold or served, and shall not permit the consumption of liquor, while the boat is docked.

Operating Practices

  1. The holder of the licence shall limit occupancy to no more than XYZ persons for the following areas (INDOOROUTDOOR, or INDOOR and OUTDOOR).
  2. The holder of the licence shall file a price list for the sale of liquor with the Registrar and shall not alter the price of liquor without the approval of the Registrar.
  3. The holder of the licence shall not permit patrons to enter or occupy any private room.
  4. The holder of the licence shall operate the premises in accordance with the information provided to the Registrar.
  5. The holder of the licence shall notify the Registrar in writing at least 10 business days prior to any event at the premises [banquet hall, boat].
  6. The holder of the licence shall offer the entire regular menu to patrons at all times that liquor is for sale or served.
  7. The holder of the licence shall not offer a Take Home the Rest service to patrons.
  8. The holder of the licence shall only sell or serve liquor in plastic or otherwise shatterproof containers.
  9. The holder of the licence shall ensure that complimentary servings of liquor are not served to patrons under any circumstances.
  10. The holder of the licence shall not operate or permit to be operated at the premises to which the licence applies any business other than the sale and service of liquor and food.
  11. The holder of the licence shall not operate or permit to be operated at the premises to which the licence applies any business other than the sale and service of liquor and food, the sale of articles incidental to the sale and service of liquor and food, the sale of lottery tickets distributed under a government licence, or the provision of entertainment ancillary to the sale and service of liquor and food.
  12. The holder of the licence shall post clear external signage informing the public that the service of liquor is provided in the establishment.
  13. The holder of the licence shall not offer for sale at one price a package which includes liquor and a trip, accommodations, food and/or other services.
  14. The holder of the licence shall ensure that all liquor permitted in the outdoor areas is held in plastic or otherwise shatterproof containers.
  15. The holder of the licence shall remain in compliance with the AGCO Bingo Revenue Model.
  16. The holder of the licence shall not permit the sale or service of liquor in the washrooms, hallways, stairwells and other similar areas of the licensed premises.
  17. The holder of the licence shall not permit the sale or service of liquor in the following areas of the establishment where the primary use of the area is not the sale and service of liquor and light meals: [AREAS]
  18. The holder of the licence shall ensure that security cameras are installed that have clear, unobstructed views of the following areas, that the equipment is maintained in good working order and that surveillance recordings are stored and made available for inspection and review upon request by AGCO inspectors and/or police for a period of XXX day(s): [AREAS]
  19. The holder of the licence shall retain all surveillance recordings for at least XXX day(s).

Prohibited Activities

  1. The holder of the licence shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure that there is no violence or disorderly conduct in or adjacent to the premises caused by employees or patrons by DATE.
  2. The holder the licence shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure that there is no illegal gambling in the premises by DATE.
  3. The holder of the licence shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure that there is no illegal drug use or sale in or adjacent to the premises by DATE.
  4. The holder of the licence shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure that there is no solicitation for purposes of prostitution in or adjacent to the premises by DATE.

Risk Mitigation

  1. The holder of the licence shall not apply for an increase in capacity.
  2. The holder of the licence shall not apply for an extension of hours.
  3. The holder of the licence shall not apply for a temporary extension of the premises.
  4. The holder of the licence shall not apply for any endorsement.
  5. The holder of the licence shall not apply for the following endorsement(s): ENDORSEMENT TYPES
  6. The holder of the licence shall not permit a Special Occasion Permit to be used for the premises in whole or part.
  7. The holder of the licence shall post an irrevocable letter of credit, security bond or such other security as the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing may accept in the amount set by the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing on such terms and conditions as the Registrar may require to pay for the cost of any investigation or investigations with respect to compliance by the holder of the licence.
  8. The holder of the licence shall not apply for any alteration(s) to the licensed boundary.
  9. The holder of the licence shall not conduct or permit athletic contests, sports or any such activities to take place at the premises to which the licence applies.
  10. The holder of the licence shall not enter into an agreement or participate in any outdoor event in conjunction with a Special Occasion Permit holder.
  11. The holder of the licence shall ensure that persons serving liquor do not carry liquor across any area(s) that are not under the exclusive control of the licence holder in order to reach a second licensed premises.

Tiered Seating

  1. The holder of the licence shall ensure that lighting in the tiered seating sections of the premises is sufficient to conduct inspections under the Liquor Licence and Control Act and Regulations when liquor is permitted in those areas.
  2. The holder of the licence shall not sell, serve, or allow for the possession of liquor in the tiered seating section of the premises for scheduled sporting or entertainment events at which the majority of the patrons are under 19 years of age.
  3. The holder of the licence shall serve liquor to patrons for consumption in the tiered seats only in containers that are distinct in appearance from the containers in which non-alcoholic beverages are served.
  4. The holder of the licence shall not sell, serve, or allow the consumption or possession of liquor in the tiered seating for more than 90 minutes prior to a scheduled sporting or entertainment event.
  5. The holder of the licence shall provide notice to the Registrar at least XXX days prior to an event for which there will be a temporary or occasional tiered seating area into which liquor will be permitted.
  6. The holder of the licence shall notify the Registrar of all events during which liquor will be sold, served or consumed in the tiered seating at least XXX days prior to the event.
  7. The holder of the licence shall not sell, serve or permit liquor to be in the possession of any patron in the tiered seating unless the licensee has received prior approval in writing from the Registrar.
  8. The holder of the licence shall not sell, serve, or allow for the possession of liquor in the tiered seating section of the premises during sporting events at which the majority of the participants are under 19 years of age.
  9. The holder of the licence shall ensure that, for all scheduled sporting and entertainment events, there are areas within the tiered seating designated as alcohol free and ensure that the possession of liquor is not permitted in those areas prior to and during the event.
  10. The holder of the licence shall ensure that a valid municipal council resolution is in place that approves the service of liquor in the tiered seating area.
  11. The holder of the licence shall ensure that all liquor permitted in the tiered seating areas is held in plastic or otherwise shatterproof containers.

Vicinity

  1. The holder of the licence shall ensure that the premises have available during operating hours XXXXX parking spots.
  2. The holder of the licence shall ensure that all liquor containers and garbage are kept in an enclosed and secure container(s).
  3. The holder of the licence shall ensure that the areas adjacent to and within XY metres of the premises are kept clean and free from any garbage associated with the operation of the premises and patrons.
  4. The holder of the licence shall ensure that there is a designated and supervised area for smokers that does not adversely affect property adjacent to the premises.

RBL Plans

  1. The holder of the licence (applicant for a licence) shall comply with the TYPE OF PLAN approved by the Registrar.
  2. The holder of the licence (applicant for a licence) shall comply with the TYPE OF PLAN filed with the Registrar.
  3. The holder of the licence (applicant for a licence) shall consult with such governmental or other authorities as the Registrar may specify prior to submitting TYPE OF PLAN to the Registrar for review and approval.
  4. The holder of the licence (applicant for a licence) shall consult with such governmental or other authorities as the Registrar may specify prior to submitting TYPE OF PLAN to the Registrar for review and filing.
  5. The holder of the licence (applicant for a licence) shall submit by DATE a proposed TYPE OF PLAN to the Registrar for review and approval that addresses the objectives for TYPE OF PLAN identified by the Registrar.
  6. The holder of the licence (applicant for a licence) shall submit by DATE a proposed TYPE OF PLAN to the Registrar for review and filing that addresses the objectives for TYPE OF PLAN identified by the Registrar.

Part C:  Plan Descriptions

Safety and Security Plan

A plan designed to protect the safety and security of patrons, staff, public authorities and others in and around the licensed establishment, as well as to deter and/or minimize the harm caused by activities and incidents in and around the establishment that may tend to threaten public safety. The plan will identify best practices, policies and other requirements that will be adopted by the licensee to help provide a safe and secure environment.

This includes reasonably addressing such issues as safety and security protocols, staff training, security personnel, security equipment, lighting and sightlines, patron management, emergency plans, disorderly conduct in and around the establishment, weapons, and other general safety and security issues.

Compliance Plan

A plan designed to ensure that the licensed establishment is operating in compliance with the overall liquor licensing regulatory regime in place in Ontario, helping to protect the public-at-large, as well as the licensee, from potential harm caused by breaches. The plan will identify best practices, policies and other requirements that will be adopted by the licensee in efforts to achieve specific and general compliance goals, with a primary focus on the regulatory requirements that are specific to liquor sales licensees under the Liquor Licence and Control Act.

This includes reasonably addressing such issues as minors, intoxication, advertising and promotions, liquor stocks, staff training, house polices, patron management, hours of service, food service, activities permitted at the establishment, and other general compliance issues.

Nuisance Mitigation Plan

A plan designed to address and/or minimize potential negative impacts that the licensed establishment may have on the local community. The plan will identify best practices, policies and other requirements that will be adopted by the licensee to ensure the licensed establishment is operating as a good and responsible neighbour.

This includes reasonably addressing such issues as noise, patron management, litter, disorderly conduct in and around the establishment, exterior line-ups, staff training, house policies, closing procedures, activities permitted at the establishment, outdoor licensed areas, and other general nuisance issues.

Patron Control Plan Mandate

A plan designed to ensure that patrons lineup to enter, attend and leave the licensed establishment in as orderly, respectful and responsible manner as possible. The plan will identify best practices, policies and other requirements that will be adopted by the licensee to assist with properly supervising, managing and responding to the activities, actions and behaviour of patrons as they may relate to vicinity in and around the establishment, as well as to the surrounding areas.

This includes reasonably addressing such issues as patron management, exterior line-ups, intoxication, closing procedures, outdoor licensed areas, and other general patron control issues.

Management Control Plan

A plan designed to demonstrate that the licensed establishment is being operated with honesty, integrity and financial responsibility by creating internal control mechanisms that are comprehensive, verifiable and auditable. The plan will identify best practices, policies and other requirements that will be adopted by the licensee to ensure that the applicable business principles and procedures in place are appropriate and effectively documented.

This includes reasonably addressing such issues as management structure and policies, record keeping, operational and financial reporting requirements, operational and financial audits/reviews, activities permitted at the establishment, and other internal control issues.

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