TORONTO ON - On December 3, 2021, the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), immediately suspended the liquor licence of Zucchinis Cucina located at 43 Kerr Street, Unit 5, in Oakville Ontario, as the Registrar considers it is necessary in the public interest.
The Deputy Registrar also seeks to revoke the liquor licence of Zucchinis Cucina for conduct inconsistent with the Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019, S.O. 2019, c. 15, Sched. 22 (LLCA), as there are reasonable grounds to believe that the licence holder will not carry on business in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty.
The Government of Ontario requires certain settings like bars and restaurants to request proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in accordance with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA).
In November 2021, local municipal authorities inspected this licensed restaurant on a number of occasions for compliance with the ROA. The AGCO understands that Halton Region Health Department Inspectors carried out the first inspection and observed that the establishment was not requesting dine-in patrons’ proof of vaccine and corresponding identification. Further, a person claiming to be a second owner directed threats and profanity against the inspectors and instructed them to leave.
The licence holder was subsequently charged with failing to comply with a continued s. 7.0.2 order of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, contrary to s. 10(1) of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to Covid 19) Act.
On November 26, 2021, Town of Oakville Municipal Enforcement Services Officers inspected the licensed restaurant and observed a sign on the door, indicating that the restaurant welcomes patrons irrespective of their vaccination status. When these officers spoke with the General Manager, he confirmed the establishment does not request dine-in patrons’ proof of vaccination.
Based on this action taken by local officials, an AGCO Compliance Official (CO) visited Zucchinis Cucina on December 2, 2021. The CO observed a sign on the door welcoming all customers regardless of their vaccination status. The CO also observed that the sign was consistent with posts made to Zucchinis Cucina’s social media channels. The CO spoke to staff of the establishment who confirmed that the restaurant does not ask customers dining inside to confirm full vaccination status.
The AGCO is committed to ensuring that the alcohol sector is operated in accordance with the law, and with integrity and honesty.
“The AGCO has zero tolerance for licensed establishments that are not doing their part to keep their customers and staff safe by following public health rules and Ontario’s laws. With COVID-19 cases on the rise and a new variant in circulation, it is more important than ever for staff and owners to check and verify the vaccine status of their customers. We will continue to take action to ensure that the alcohol sector is operating in accordance with the law and with honesty and integrity.”
Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO, AGCO
There are consequences for licence holders who do not meet the requirements under the LLCA, including the possibility of an Order of Monetary Penalty, an immediate suspension of the licence and/or a proposal to suspend or revoke the licence.
An establishment served with a Notice of Proposal has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, which is an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and forms part of Tribunals Ontario.
The AGCO regularly conducts compliance activities at liquor licensed establishments across the province. The AGCO recognizes that the vast majority of licensees operate responsibly.
The LLCA provides the AGCO with the authority to carry out inspections of licensed establishments to promote and ensure compliance with the LLCA and its regulations and the law
ABOUT THE AGCO
The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.
The AGCO is a regulatory agency with a governing board that reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The agency was established on February 23, 1998 under the Alcohol, Cannabis and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996, S.O. 96, c. 26, Sched