Section 1: Special Occasion Permits

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A Special Occasion Permit (SOP) is required any time liquor is sold or served anywhere other than in a licensed establishment or a private place (for example, a corporate boardroom or a residence). Note: liquor cannot be sold at a residence.

SOPs are for occasional, special events only, and not for personal profit or running an ongoing business. A permit may be revoked if the Registrar established under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act (AGCO Act) has reason to believe the event is being used for personal gain.

Types of Special Occasion Permits

Special Occasion Permits may be issued for the following types of events and activities:

  • 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 liquor at the event. There are several types of eligible public events:

  • Public Events are open to the public. These events can be advertised and fundraising and/or profit from the sale of liquor at the event is permitted.

    • Public events include events of provincial, national or international significance, or designated by a municipal council or its delegate as an event of municipal significance.

    • Charity Events are public events conducted by a charitable organization registered under the Income Tax Act (Canada), a non-profit association or organization for the advancement of charitable, educational, religious or community objects.

    • Tailgate Events are public events that are held in connection with, and in proximity to, a live sporting event and where attendees may bring their own liquor (BYOB) for consumption at the event.

    • Industry Promotional Events are public events held to promote a manufacturer’s product(s). Manufacturers or a licensed representative can provide or sell samples and take orders for liquor purchases.

  • Auctions are conducted by a charitable organization, administrator or executor of an estate or law enforcement officer acting within the scope of their duties. Auctions may be conducted wholly or partly online.

This guide provides an overview of tailgate events.

For information on private events, other public events and industry promotional events and auctions, see the AGCO’s Special Occasion Permit Guide or Auction Guide.