Tailgate Event Permit Guide

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Line of Business: 

Section 1: When is a Tailgate Event Permit Required?

A Tailgate Event Permit is required for events held in connection with, and in proximity to, a sporting event, and where attendees 19 years of age or older may bring their own liquor (BYOB) for consumption at the tailgate event, within the permitted area.

The following sections provide an overview of Tailgate Event Permits.

For more information on Special Occasion Permits (SOP) for Private Events, other Public Events and Industry Promotional Events, please refer to the AGCO’s Special Occasion Permit Guide.

Section 2: What is a Tailgate Event?

A tailgate event is generally considered to be an outdoor social gathering, where attendees can bring their own food, beverages (including alcohol), and often their vehicles, to an area for the purposes of community and support for a sporting event.

To be eligible for a Tailgate Event Permit in Ontario, the tailgate event must be:

  • an outdoor event that is held in connection with, and in proximity to, one of the following types of sporting events:
    • Professional
    • Semi-professional
    • Post-secondary
  • held at an outdoor space, at ground level (e.g. parking lot).
  • be within proximity to where the live sporting event is taking place to which the tailgate event is connected.

In addition, attendees 19 years and older must be allowed to bring their own alcohol for consumption.

For more information on the eligibility requirements for a Tailgate Event Permit, please refer to Section 5.  

Section 3: Tailgate Event Permit with Sale or No Sale of Alcohol

Under a Tailgate Event Permit, you may sell and serve liquor if you wish, though there is no requirement to do so. You must, however, allow attendees 19 years and older to bring their own alcohol and consume it at the event.

As part of your application, you will be required to indicate whether you wish to sell alcohol at your event. This includes where money is collected for alcohol through, for example, an admission charge to the event (e.g., drink tickets included in admission charge), the sale of alcohol (cash bar) or alcohol tickets sold to people attending the event, or the collection of money and/or other forms of payments for alcohol before the event.

Section 4: Application Fees

Tailgate Event Permit application fees are non-refundable.

For a list of current fees, please refer to the Schedule of Fees on the AGCO’s website.

Section 5: Eligibility Requirements for Tailgate Events

Eligible Sporting Events

Tailgate Event Permits may only be issued for tailgate events connected to professional, semi-professional or post-secondary level sporting events:

  • Professional sporting events may include sports where the participants are major league teams such as members of the Canadian Football League (CFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), American Hockey League (AHL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Soccer (MLS).
  • Semi-professional sporting events may include sports where the participants are minor league teams such as members of Ontario Hockey League (OHL), AAA baseball, United Soccer League Championship.
  • Post-secondary sporting events may include sports where the participants are extramural, varsity or intercollegiate sports teams
  • Amateur or recreational sporting events, including events organized and played through intramural sports leagues at post-secondary institutions or otherwise, are not eligible for Tailgate Event Permits.

Eligible Locations/Premises

A proposed tailgate event must be within proximity to where the live sporting event to which the tailgate event is connected is taking place.

In addition, all Tailgate Event Permit areas (where alcohol will be sold, served and/or consumed) must be outdoors and at the ground level.

Outdoor areas are considered to be spaces that are open, or partially open, to the weather elements. Eligible outdoor locations may also include, for example, temporary structures such as a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating (e.g. bleacher seating, stadium-type seating, seating arranged in sloping tiers).

Tailgate events must also take place at ground level. This generally means that the location of the event must be on the same level as the natural ground or street (as opposed to being above or below the ground or street’s surface). For example, an underground parking garage or the upper/lower levels of a multi-level parkade would not be eligible locations for a tailgate event.

As part of the application, you will be required to submit a sketch of the proposed permit area, as well as provide information about the location of the sporting event and the sporting venue.

Application Deadlines for Tailgate Events

An application for a Tailgate Event Permit must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event.

Notification to Municipal Authorities

Applicants for a Tailgate Event Permit must notify in writing the local municipal clerk’s department, police, fire and health departments informing them of the event, and include a sketch identifying the physical boundaries. If a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating is used, you must also notify in writing the local building department.

The applicant’s timelines for notifying local authorities are:

  • 30 days before the event takes place, if fewer than 5,000 people per day are expected to attend the event; or
  • 60 days before the event takes place if 5,000 or more people per day are expected to attend the event.

You will be required to include copies of all municipal notification letters with your application.

For a list of Ontario municipalities, see Appendix A - Contact Information.

 

 

Section 6: Conditions

The AGCO regulates the sale and service of beverage alcohol in Ontario and provides assistance to applicants and permit holders in understanding how to conduct an event in a responsible manner.

The Registrar may review applications for Tailgate Event Permits to determine if there are any risks associated with the event. The Registrar has the authority to attach conditions to a Tailgate Event Permit to mitigate any risks that may be related to the event. Conditions might include, for example, limiting the hours of sale, service and consumption of alcohol, or requiring licensed security staff to be hired/on duty during the event.

Section 7: Guidelines for Submitting Tailgate Event Permit Applications

To apply for a Tailgate Event Permit, go to iAGCO  and select “Special Occasion Permit – Tailgate Event”.

APPLICANT INFORMATION

You must be 19 years of age or older to obtain a Tailgate Event Permit. If the applicant is an organization, association or company, the application must be completed by a member or representative who will be at least 19 years of age at the time of the event, who has signing authority for the organization, association or company. Applicants must provide all information, materials, documentation or approvals as may be requested.

RESPONSIBLE PERSON(S)

The Permit Holder/Responsible Person must be present throughout the tailgate event and is responsible for the safety and sobriety of people attending the event. They must ensure the event is run properly and in compliance with the Liquor Licence Act and its regulations. To request, view or download a copy of these documents, see the e-Laws statute and regulations on the Government of Ontario website.

The Permit Holder/Responsible Person indicated on the application will be noted on the permit. If there is more than one Responsible Person, all must be named and at least one of the persons named must be at the event at all times.

NOTE: If in an emergency situation the Permit Holder/Responsible Person is unable to attend, then it is the responsibility of the Permit Holder to designate in writing someone to attend the permit event on his/her behalf. The Designated Person is responsible to ensure that all legal requirements for the permit event are met. The Designated Person must not be someone who has previously been refused a Special Occasion Permit(s) by the AGCO.

TAILGATE EVENT NAME, LOCATION AND DETAILS

As part of the application, you will be required to provide details related to the tailgate event, including the:

  • Event Name (e.g. Toronto Argos Fan Tailgate Party)
  • Location Name (e.g. Stadium/Field parking lot, name of building/property where the tailgate event will be held)
  • Address of the tailgate event location. (If the address of the proposed location for the tailgate event is unknown (e.g. parking lot), please use an address as close to the proposed location as possible).

Note: If your event is being held at different locations (whether it is on the same day or over the course of several days), a separate permit is required for each location/address.

DATES AND TIMES OF TAILGATE EVENT

Alcohol may only be sold, served and/or consumed during the hours specified on your permit.

Note: the tailgate event can begin/continue beyond hours specified on your permit, however, the sale, service and/or consumption of alcohol is limited to the time authorized on your permit.

A Tailgate Event Permit will be generally be effective on the same day as the sporting event to which the tailgate event is connected, and the hours must be between 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on any day (except New Year’s Eve (December 31) where hours may be between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. the following day (January 1)).

Date(s): Indicate the date on which the tailgate event will take place. If your event runs into the following day (e.g. until 2:00 a.m.), you must only indicate the first day (e.g. if the event begins April 9th at 7:00 p.m. and ends April 10th at 2:00 a.m. you would only indicate “April 9”).

Start Time: Indicate the time at which the sale, service and/or consumption of alcohol will begin.

End Time: Indicate the time at which the sale, service and/or consumption of alcohol will end. Please note that the signs of alcohol must be cleared no later than 45 minutes after the end of the serving period (e.g. if your permit indicates an end time of 4:00 p.m., all alcohol and signs of service and/or consumption must be cleared by 4:45 p.m.).

APPLYING FOR MULTIPLE EVENTS IN ONE APPLICTION

You may apply for more than one tailgate event in the same application, if:

  • Each tailgate event is one in a series of events (e.g. tailgate events for all home games of sports team; tailgate events for all games in a playoff series or tournament)
  • The application for the permit is for all of the events (dates)
  • The nature, purpose, location and target audience of each of the tailgate event dates are the same (e.g. tailgate event for all home games, etc.)
  • As a result of doing so, the permit holder is not operating an ongoing business, or does not appear to be doing so
  • Each tailgate event is in connection with and in proximity to a sporting event

TAILGATE EVENT LOCATION NAME OR AREA

You must provide a description of the outdoor area where the tailgate event will be held. Please use specific descriptions (e.g. parking lot, park, fenced area) and name of the area, if applicable.  

ESTIMATED ATTENDANCE

Indicate how many people you expect will attend the event per day.

SPORTING EVENT INFORMATION

All tailgate events be must held in connection with, and in proximity to, a professional, semi-professional or post-secondary sporting event in Ontario.

In this section of the application, you will be required to provide the following information about the live sporting event

  1. Type of sport 
  2. Category (i.e. Professional, semi-professional or post-secondary)
  3. Governing body or league (e.g., Canadian Football League (CFL), National Basketball Association (NBA))
  4. Date, time and location of the sporting event
  5. Name of participating teams  

If you are applying for more than one tailgate event in your application, you must provide the above information about the sporting event connected with each tailgate event date.

TAILGATE EVENT LOCATION REQUIREMENTS/INFORMATION

The location/area where the tailgate event is to take place must meet the requirements below.

The following location requirements must be met:

  • The permit/location area where alcohol will be sold, served or consumed must be outdoors and at the ground level
  • The permit location/area where alcohol will be sold/served/consumed must be readily distinguishable from adjacent areas where the permit does not apply. This means that all areas that are not part of the permit area must be clearly and visibly separated from those areas covered under the Tailgate Event Permit. For example, boundaries of the permit area could be identified using:
    • Painted lines, tape or dots around perimeter
    • Plants, furniture, or other fixed items
    • Ropes and temporary fences
    • Pylons or other similar visible markers
    • Signage indicating where alcohol can be consumed or is prohibited
  • The premises may not be a residence or dwelling. Outdoor common areas at the ground level of a multi-unit residential building (i.e. condo/apartment) are not considered a dwelling.
  • The location may not be in a dry area if alcohol is to be sold at the event. A dry area is an area/municipality where alcohol is not sold.

You will be required to confirm that you, as the permit holder, are authorized to use the proposed permit area for the tailgate event.

TENTS, MARQUEES, PAVILIONS OR TIERED SEATING

You must indicate in the application whether alcohol will be sold, served or consumed in tents, marquees, pavilions or tiered seating areas (e.g. bleacher seating, stadium-type seating, seating arranged in sloping tiers).

As part of the application, you will be also required to provide a detailed sketch showing the dimensions of the tailgate event area for which the permit will apply (see Supporting Documents section). If there are tents, marquees, pavilions or tiered seating, please include them and identify their location within the sketch.

Note:  If a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating is used, you must notify the local building department in writing (please see Section 5 – Notification to Municipal Authorities)

WILL ALCOHOL BE SOLD AND SERVED?

You must answer “yes” to this question if you are collecting money for alcohol either directly, through the sale of alcohol or drink tickets at the event (e.g. cash bar, sale of drink tickets), or indirectly through an admission charge that covers alcohol (e.g. drink tickets included with admission) or the collection of money for alcohol before the event.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

The following documents will be required for your application:

  • Detailed Sketch - A detailed sketch showing the dimensions of the tailgate event area for which the permit will apply. If there are tents, marquees, pavilions or tiered seating, please include them within the sketch.
    Example:
    outdoor-area.png
  • Notification Letters - Copies of letters sent to the local municipal clerk’s department, police, fire and health departments informing them of the outdoor event. As well as, a copy of the letter sent to the local building department if a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating is used within the permitted area.  

Note: You may also provide any supplementary documents you feel may be helpful in the review of your application.

Section 8: Purchasing Alcohol for Sale and Service at a Tailgate Event

If you are selling or serving alcohol at your tailgate event, generally, all alcohol must be purchased in Ontario from an authorized government retail store (LCBO, The Beer Store or authorized manufacturer’s retail store).

Applicants should contact the Canada Revenue Agency for information concerning any collection of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or other obligations they may have relating to the HST and the sale of alcohol under the permit.

The permit and product receipts for all alcohol products purchased under the permit must be readily available during the Tailgate Event for presentation upon request at the event by AGCO Compliance Officials or police officers.

Section 9: Storage of Alcohol Purchased under your Tailgate Event Permit

Alcohol that has not been consumed that was purchased by the permit holder under the Tailgate Event Permit for sale or service at the event must be removed from the premises at the end of the event. When returning unopened alcohol purchased from a government store, you must produce the permit and a copy of your payment records (e.g. receipts and/or invoices). Check with the retailer at which you purchased the alcohol for further details.

If a permit is issued for more than one tailgate event, the permit holder may store alcohol that is sold under the permit between event dates if the permit holder:

  • Stores the alcohol in a secure area that is not a dwelling;
  • Ensures that the alcohol is stored separately from other alcohol not sold under the permit;
  • Provides the AGCO with a list of persons with access to the location, upon request; and
  • Ensures that the alcohol is made available to AGCO Compliance Officials and police officers for inspection upon request.

Section 10: Changes to your Tailgate Event/Permit

If there is a change to the permit area(s) or the tailgate event after the permit is issued, including any of the following, the permit holder must submit a change request:

  • if there has been a change in the event date, hours and/or location
  • if alcohol will be served, sold or consumed in tents, marquees, pavilions or tiered seating
  • if there has been a change to whether you are charging for alcohol directly, through the sale of alcohol or drink tickets at the event (e.g. cash bar, sale of drink tickets), or indirectly through an admission charge that covers alcohol (e.g. drink tickets included with admission) or the collection of money for alcohol before the event.

In some cases, a new permit may be required. If the permit holder does not notify the AGCO by submitting such a request, administrative action may be taken against the permit holder including, but not limited to, the immediate revocation of the Tailgate Event Permit. Application fees are non-refundable.

In addition, if the sporting event for which your Tailgate Event Permit has been issued is cancelled, you must notify the AGCO.

Section 11: Revocation of Permit

A police officer or AGCO Compliance Official may revoke a Tailgate Event Permit while the event is underway if he/she reasonably believes that the Liquor Licence Act or its regulations are being contravened in connection with the event.

Any Tailgate Event Permit holder may be issued a monetary penalty as a result of specific breaches of the Liquor Licence Act and its regulations. For further information on monetary penalty refer to the Schedule of Monetary Penalties which can be found on the AGCO website.

Section 12: Event Guidelines

RESPONSIBLE PERSON(S)

The Permit Holder, Responsible Person(s) and/or Designated Person must be present throughout the tailgate event.

PATRONS DEPARTING WITH UNFINISHED ALCOHOL

Under a Tailgate Event Permit, the permit holder must allow patrons to bring their own alcohol for consumption at the event.

It is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure that patrons attending the tailgate event do not leave the permit area with unsealed or opened alcohol.

In cases where a patron is departing the event in a motorized vehicle (other than a form of public transit), the permit holder must ensure that the alcohol that is leaving the premises is sealed and unopened, or packed in baggage that is fastened closed and not readily available to anyone in the vehicle. Permit holders must also ensure that patrons leaving by foot, or other means, transport any of their unfinished alcohol in a closed container.

VEHICLES IN THE PERMIT AREA

Under a Tailgate Event Permit, permit holders may allow vehicles to enter and park within the permit area (i.e. a tailgate event taking place in a parking lot).

Permit holders are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of patrons attending the event.

ADVERTISING

A Tailgate Event permit holder may advertise or promote the availability of alcohol only in accordance with the Registrar’s Advertising Guidelines. Please refer to Subsection 7(2), Regulation 389/91 of the Liquor Licence Act for further information.

SECURITY

The permit holder must provide security sufficient to ensure that the conditions of the permit and requirements of the Liquor Licence Act are observed. In order to determine whether security is sufficient, the permit holder shall consider:

  • The size of the premises
  • The age and number of persons attending the event
  • If vehicles are present.

COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW

AGCO Compliance Officials and police officers have the authority to access and inspect any location or area where a Tailgate event is being held.

If breaches of the Liquor Licence Act or its regulations are observed or if there is an immediate threat to public safety, an AGCO Compliance Official or police officer may revoke a SOP while the event is underway.

A Permit Holder, Responsible Person(s) and/or Designated Person may be issued a monetary penalty by the AGCO as a result of specific breaches of the Liquor Licence Act or its regulations. For further information please refer to the Schedule of Monetary Penalties.

SERVER TRAINING

Smart Serve Ontario offers a responsible alcohol beverage service training program for the Ontario hospitality industry. While not a requirement, permit holders and/or their staff may wish to consider taking this training to learn more about safe and responsible sale and service of alcohol.  For more information, please contact Smart Serve Ontario (see Appendix A –Contact Information)

AGCO RESOURCES

The AGCO has published a tip sheet to help you in planning your event.

Appendix A – Contact Information

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
90 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 200
Toronto, ON M2N 0A4
Website: www.agco.ca or iAGCO online portal
Tel: 416-326-8700
Toll Free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876

Additional Industry Contacts

Canada Revenue Agency
Website: www.cra-arc.gc.ca/

Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)
Telephone: 416-365-5900Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-668-5226Mobile: #LCBO (#5226) TTY Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-361-3291
Website: www.hellolcbo.com

Liquor Licence Act and Regulations (Government of Ontario)
Telephone: 416-326-5300TTY/Teletypewriter (for the hearing impaired): 416-325-3408Toll free across Canada: 1-800-668-9938TTY Toll free in Ontario 1-800-268-7095Website: www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90l19

Ontario Municipalities
Website: www.mah.gov.on.ca/page1591.aspx

Smart Serve Ontario
5407 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 105Toronto, ON M9C 5K6Telephone: 416-695-8737Toll-free in Ontario: 1-877-620-6082Email: info@smartserve.ca
Website: www.smartserve.ca