Section 8: Guidelines for Submitting SOP Applications

Applicant Information

You must be 19 years of age or older to obtain an SOP. 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 on the day 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 SOP 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.

Event Name and Details

In this section, please expand on the details and purpose of your event. If your event has a name (e.g. “Annual Rib-Fest” or “Anderson Family Wedding”), please provide that information in this section.

Location Name, Room Name or Area

If the room or location is within a large complex, specify the room name or use the exact location (e.g. Main Hall B, or 2nd floor, North West section). Do not use the name of the building or complex to describe the room or location (e.g. the North Tower).

For OUTDOOR areas, you must use specific descriptions (e.g. pavilion, outdoor fenced area, main banquet room & fenced area/patio, etc.). Do not use “grounds”, “outside” or name of the park.

Dates and Times of Event

You may sell and serve alcohol only during the hours specified on your permit and consumption of alcohol by patrons may only take place during the hours specified on your permit.

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 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 consumption of alcohol will begin.

End Time: Indicate the time at which the sale, service and 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 serving period ends at 1:00 a.m., all alcohol must be cleared by 1:45 a.m.).

Multiple day events

Multiple day event permits can only be issued if:

  • Each event is one in a series of events;
  • The application for the permit is for all of the events (dates);
  • The nature, purpose, location and target audience of each of the event dates are the same (e.g. monthly social club gatherings, monthly book club meetings, etc.); and
  • As a result of doing so, the permit holder is not operating an ongoing business, or does not appear to be doing so.

Location Information

The location/area where the event is to take place must meet the guidelines below. You can obtain this information from the premises owner or manager and should confirm that the building has been inspected by the proper authorities. The following guidelines must be met:

  • The permit location/area where alcohol will be sold/served/consumed must be readily distinguishable from areas where the permit does not apply. This means that all areas that are not part of the permit area must be clearly defined and visibly separated from those areas covered under the 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 location may not be a licensed establishment under suspension and the event must comply with any conditions that apply to the licence (e.g. restricted hours of operation);
  • The premises may not be a dwelling, or rooms or land adjacent to and used in conjunction with 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.

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

Estimated Attendance

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


The maximum capacity of many indoor premises is predetermined by either the Building or Fire Department. It is the permit holder’s responsibility to ensure these capacities are not exceeded during the permit event.

Maximum capacities for all outdoor areas (and indoor areas without a designated Building or Fire Department capacity) is determined by dividing the actual size of the permit area (as determined in square metres or square feet) by 1.11 square metres or 12 square feet per person.

For example:

  • 30 m x 60 m = 1,800 square metres ÷ 1.11 = 1,621 persons; or
  • 100 ft x 200 ft = 20,000 sq.ft. ÷ 12 = 1,666 persons.

The capacity for any location/room/area is the lesser of the occupant load set by Fire, Health or Building and the estimated capacity as calculated above.

NOTE: It is the permit holder’s responsibility to ensure these capacities are correct and are not exceeded during the permit event.

Homemade Wine and/or Beer

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

Will Alcohol Be Sold?

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 the sale of admission, membership fees or the collection of money for alcohol before the event.

Is There an Admission Charge and/or Will Tickets Be Sold for This Event?

You must answer “yes” to this question if you are collecting money through ticket sales or an admission charge to the event.

Outdoor Events

Will alcohol be sold, served or consumed outdoors (including tent/marquee/ pavilion or tiered seating area(s)?

Outdoor events are those which take place outdoors or in a temporary structure, such as a tent, marquee, pavilion or tiered seating seating (e.g. bleacher seating, stadium-type seating, seating arranged in sloping tiers).

The outdoor area must be clearly defined and separated from areas where the permit does not apply.

You will be required to provide a detailed sketch showing the dimensions of the area for which the permit will apply (see example below).

You must also 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 should retain copies of all letters sent to authorities, as you may be required to include them with your application or make them available upon request.

Tiered Seating

If a SOP application is submitted for a location that includes tiered seating (e.g. bleachers, stadium seating, etc.), this must be indicated on your application. If the event is outdoors, the location of the tiered seating must be clearly identified on a sketch and submitted along with the application.

Example of sketch showing SOP area:


Required Documentation

If your event includes any of the following, you should retain copies of all letters sent to municipal authorities, as you may be required to make them available upon request:

  • Any tiered seating;
  • Any outdoor event (public, private or industry promotional);
  • Outdoor Public Events involving liquor sales licensed establishments (e.g.Outdoor Street Festival);
  • Public Events requiring a municipal resolution or letter from a delegated municipal official designating the event as “municipally significant” – see Section 7.

The following documents may be required for your application:

  • Detailed Sketch - For Public, Private or Industry Promotional events if the event is being held outdoors.
  • Letter of Support - For Public, Private or Industry Promotional events if the event is being held by a representative of a foreign government.
  • Municipal Resolution - Required if the event is a public event of municipal significance, or is an outdoor public event that involves liquor licensed establishments.
  • Involvement of liquor licensed establishments - Required if the event is an outdoor, public event and involves liquor sales licence holders.
  • Letter of Authorization - Event organizers conducting sampling at an Industry Promotional event may be required to produce a letter of authorization from the Manufacturer or AGCO Licensed Representative.

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

Is the Event for Invited Guests Only?

If your event is not open to the public, and for invited guests only, answer “yes” to this question.

If your event is open to the public and has been or will be advertised, answer “no” to this question.