Private Events

Private Events are limited to invited guests only and may not be publicly advertised. The public cannot be admitted and there can be no intent to gain or profit from the sale of alcohol at the event.

Examples of a private event would include stags, stag and does, bridal showers, wedding receptions, anniversary parties, baptisms or birthday parties, among others, where only family, friends and people known to the hosts or permit holders are invited to attend.

Information about the event may be shared with invited guests and members only. The event must not be advertised to the public (e.g. by way of flyers, newspaper, internet or radio). Acceptable forms of notification may include social media (not available for viewing by the general public, must be a personal guest list, private invitation, etc.).

Homemade Wine and Beer

Homemade wine and beer can only be served but not sold at a wedding, anniversary, or other family special occasion (e.g. a family reunion or other similar family gathering).

The wine and/or beer must be made by a member of the family hosting the event and the permit holder must have acquired it free of charge. The permit holder may not sell the wine and/or beer.

Wine and/or Beer Club/Association/Group

The objects of the club/association/group are the testing, exhibition and judging of wine and/or beer made by its members. Wine and/or beer may only be served to members of the club/association/ group. No service is allowed to the public. These events must be “No Sale” events and alcohol must be served without charge.

Application Deadlines for Private Events

  • For Indoor Events, the application must be submitted at least 10 days prior to the event.
  • For Outdoor Events, the local municipal clerk’s department, police, fire and health department must be given a written notice 30 days before the event when expecting fewer than 5,000 people per day. If expecting 5,000 or more people per day, a notice to the same group is required at least 60 days prior to the event. If there is a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating being used, then the local building department must be notified in writing. For a list of Ontario municipalities, see Appendix A - Contact Information.

Public Events

A Public Event SOP can be issued:

  • To a charitable organization under the Income Tax Act (Canada);
  • To Not-for-Profit organizations/associations organized to promote charitable, educational, religious or community objects;
  • For an event of provincial, national or international significance; or
  • For an event designated by a municipal council as an event of municipal significance.
  • For a tailgate event held at outdoor premises that are at ground level, where the event is held in connection with, and in proximity to, a live professional, semi-professional or post-secondary sporting event. For more information on tailgate events, please see the AGCO’s Tailgate Event Permit Guide.

Public Events may be held to raise funds for charitable purposes and objects that benefit the public at large (e.g. advancement of education, religion, relief of poverty, charitable purposes benefiting the community).

An event of municipal significance requires a municipal resolution or a letter from a delegated municipal official (e.g. municipal clerk) designating the event as “municipally significant”.

Advertising

A Public Event permit holder may advertise or promote the availability of alcohol only in accordance with the Registrar’s Advertising Guidelines (available on

the AGCO website). Please refer to Section 7(2), Regulation 389/91 of the Liquor Licence Act for further information.

Designated Public Events – outdoor public events involving liquor sales licensed establishments

If a SOP has been issued for an outdoor event that has both licensed areas (bars, restaurants, etc.) and areas to which the SOP applies (e.g. the street on which the event is taking place), patrons can move freely between these areas with a single serving* of alcohol under certain conditions approved by the Registrar. Licensees and permit holders are responsible for ensuring this requirement is met.

*A single serving is defined as a serving of alcohol that is no larger than the following: 341 ml (12 oz.) of beer, cider or cooler, 29 ml (1 oz.) of spirits, 142 ml (5 oz.) of wine, 85 ml (3oz.) of fortified wine.

To be eligible, the event must meet the following criteria:

  • The event must be an outdoor event (e.g. street festival);
  • The event must be designated “municipally significant” and the applicant must submit a resolution of municipal council or a letter from a delegated municipal official designating the event as “municipally significant”; and
  • The licence holders and the permit holder must have entered into an agreement to ensure that there is no unreasonable risk to public safety, the public interest and the public, and no unreasonable risk of non- compliance with the Liquor Licence Act and its regulations by either of the parties.

This agreement must be submitted to the AGCO for review and approval at least 30 days prior to the event.

Please refer to Section 34.1, Regulation 719 of the Liquor Licence Act for further information (see Appendix A - Contact Information).

Donated Alcohol

Public events conducted by charitable organizations registered under the Income Tax Act and not-for-profit organizations/associations may accept alcohol donated by manufacturers of alcohol. Records (such as receipts or invoices) for all product must be obtained by the SOP holder and must be made available for inspection by an AGCO Compliance Official or a police officer. Donated alcohol must be processed by a government store (LCBO store, LCBO Agency store, The Beer Store or authorized manufacturer’s retail store) under the permit.

Special Occasion Gaming Events

Special Occasion Gaming events are eligible for a SOP for a Public Event provided the applicant is a charitable organization or a religious organization, and the games are licensed under section 207 of the Criminal Code (Canada).

The holder of a SOP for a Public Event may offer alcohol, donated or otherwise, as a prize, provided there is a lottery licence issued to the permit holder. Only charities or not-for-profit organizations/associations are eligible for a lottery licence. Please note only those 19 years of age or over may be awarded alcohol as a prize and this condition must be disclosed and printed on all tickets. For more information on obtaining a lottery licence, please visit the AGCO website.

Application Deadlines for Public Events

  • For Indoor Events, the application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event.
  • For Outdoor Events, the local municipal clerk’s department, police, fire and health department must be given written notice 30 days before the event when expecting fewer than 5,000 people per day. If expecting 5,000 people or more per day, a notice to the same group is required at least 60 days prior to the event. If there is a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating being used, then the local building department must be notified in writing. For a list of Ontario municipalities, see Appendix A - Contact Information.

Industry Promotional Events

Industry Promotional Events are events that promote a manufacturer’s product(s). There can be no intent to gain or profit from the sale of alcohol at the event, however, samples for tasting at the event may be provided (under a “No Sale” permit) or sold (under “Sale” permit). Retailing of alcohol is not permitted at the event, however, manufacturers and/or their representatives may accept orders for alcohol purchases at the event.

Advertising

An Industry Promotional Event permit holder may advertise or promote the availability of alcohol only in accordance with the Registrar’s Advertising Guidelines (available on AGCO website). Please refer to Section 7(2), Regulation 389/91 of the Liquor Licence Act for further information.

Event Organizers or AGCO Licensed Representatives

If an event organizer, manufacturer or AGCO licensed representative of a manufacturer is conducting market research or providing samples on behalf of a manufacturer, the event organizer may be required, upon request, to make available a letter from the manufacturer authorizing them as their representative to conduct market research and/or sampling.

Market Research

Market research may be conducted under an Industry Promotional, “No Sale” SOP by or on behalf of a liquor manufacturer for the purposes of gathering and analyzing information about consumers’ needs and preferences. Market research conducted under Industry Promotional SOPs can be advertised and open to the public or for invited guests only. Samples at market research events cannot be sold and the retailing of alcohol is not permitted.

It is a requirement to have a clearly defined permit area. If the market research is done in an open area (e.g. a mall foyer), the area must still be readily distinguishable from the area where the permit does not apply.

Alcohol being sampled at a market research event does not have to be purchased from a government store.

Application Deadlines for Industry Promotional Events

  • For Indoor events, the application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event.
  • For Outdoor Events, the local municipal clerk’s department, police, fire and health department must be given a written notice 30 days before the event when expecting fewer than 5,000 people per day. If expecting 5,000 or more people per day, a notice to the same group is required at least 60 days prior to the event. If there is a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating being used, then the local building department must be notified in writing. For a list of Ontario municipalities, see Appendix A - Contact Information.

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