On November 10, 2021, the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), issued an Order of Interim Suspension of the liquor licence of Wild Wing Belleville located at 366 North Front Street Unit 26, in Belleville, Ontario for reasons of public interest and safety. The interim suspension took immediate effect.
The Deputy Registrar also issued a Notice of Proposal (NOP) to revoke the liquor licence of Wild Wing Belleville for infractions of the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), including the requirement that the licence holder act and carry-on business in accordance with the law.
The Government of Ontario requires that anybody entering certain settings, like licensed bars and restaurants, provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. During the months of September and October 2021, the AGCO contacted the Wild Wing Belleville licence holder to educate and monitor compliance with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA).
On September 29, 2021, AGCO Compliance Officials (CO) spoke to the licence holder. During the conversation, the COs educated the licence holder regarding the requirements of the ROA. The licence holder said she currently does not request vaccine confirmation from patrons, nor does she require them to wear face masks while inside.
AGCO COs followed up in-person on two separate occasions in October and observed continued non-compliance. On November 9, 2021, an AGCO CO visited Wild Wing Belleville and observed that multiple unmasked patrons were entering and exiting the establishment and that vaccine confirmation and identification were not checked. The manager advised that his staff does not request vaccination confirmation or identification from patrons. He further advised that he and the staff were aware of the requirements under the ROA given various inspectors’ visits in recent months, but he does not require staff to wear masks.
The AGCO remained in close contact with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) officials throughout this period. The AGCO was therefore made aware of HPEPH’s repeated visits to Wild Wing Belleville and the multiple charges brought against the licensee for failure to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, pursuant to section 10(1) of the ROA.
The AGCO is committed to ensuring that the alcohol sector is operated with honesty, integrity and in the broader public interest. As a result of the facts above, the Registrar considers it to be necessary and in the public interest to immediately suspend the liquor licence of Wild Wing Belleville. Additionally, the Deputy Registrar has reasonable grounds to believe that the licence holder will not carry-on business in accordance with the law and has issued a Notice of Proposal (NOP) to revoke their license.
“The AGCO continues to be mindful of the toll the pandemic is taking on licensed businesses, their employees, as well as their families. Enhanced vaccine certificates, as well as the verification app help businesses stay open and keep their customers safe. We appreciate and recognize all the establishments that are doing their part by following the law. We will continue to take action to ensure that the alcohol sector is operated with honesty and integrity.”
Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO, AGCO
There are consequences for licence holders who do not meet the requirements under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), including the possibility of an Order of Monetary Penalty, a temporary suspension of the licence, or in the most serious cases, a revocation of 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 part of Tribunals Ontario.
The AGCO regularly conducts compliance activities at liquor licensed establishments across the province and recognizes licensees who are operating responsibly.
- The LLA provides the AGCO with the authority to carry out inspections of licensed establishments for the purposes of determining whether there is compliance with the Act and its regulations. Police officers also have this authority.
- Liquor Inspections and Your Obligations | Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (agco.ca)
- See Section 15 (6) and 6 (2)(d) Liquor Licence Act (LLA)
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.