INFORMATION BULLETIN – No. 26
Effective June 1, 2011 and August 2, 2011
The Government of Ontario has made several amendments to Regulation 719 (Licences To Sell Liquor) under the Liquor Licence Act. These changes are being introduced following extensive consultation with a wide range of liquor industry stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, public health organizations and other interested parties and are intended to:
- Remove some previous barriers and restrictions for liquor sales licensees
- Provide flexibility to businesses
- Improve tourism and local economies
- Strengthen Ontario’s economy and create new opportunities for jobs
- Expand enforcement options where violations of Ontario’s liquor laws occur.
The regulatory changes affecting liquor sales licensees will be introduced in two phases – June 1, 2011 and August 2, 2011 – and are outlined below.
For more information on regulatory amendments affecting liquor sales licensees, please visit the AGCO website at www.agco.on.ca, or contact the AGCO Customer Service Department at 1-800-522-2876 (toll free in Ontario) or 416-326-8700 (in the Greater Toronto Area).
Changes effective June 1, 2011
Complimentary drinks / minimum pricing
Licensees may now offer complimentary drinks to their customers under certain limited circumstances, which will be included in the Registrar’s Liquor Advertising Guidelines for Liquor Sales Licensees and Manufacturers’ Representatives. Unless providing a complimentary drink to a patron, a licensee must maintain the current minimum pricing requirement and not sell a serving of alcohol for less than two dollars ($2.00), including tax.
Boats for Hire
Subject to any conditions on their liquor sales licence, boats can now serve liquor between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. the following day, as long as the boat is used for the primary purpose of transporting passengers, and is either underway (i.e. actually transporting passengers) or soon to be underway. If the boat is docked for an unforeseen reason – i.e. bad weather – liquor can still be sold and served.
Outdoor SOP Holders May Now Enter Into Agreement With Liquor Sales Licensees
If a Special Occasion Permit has been issued for an outdoor event that has both licensed areas (bars, restaurants, etc.) and areas to which the SOP applies (i.e. the street on which the event is taking place), patrons can move freely between these areas with a single serving of alcohol, under certain conditions and where permission has been granted by the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming.
Staff are now permitted to carry drinks from one licensed area to another licensed area across an area that is not under the exclusive control of the licensee, such as a public sidewalk. Separate service bars are no longer required. Patrons may not carry drinks across a non-licensed area.
Additional Forms of Prescribed Identification
Although any identification with a photo, a date of birth and that reasonably appears to have been issued by a government may be accepted by a licensee, there are now three additional types of government-issued identification that have been added to the prescribed list and that the licensee may rely on to reasonably establish a patron’s age:
- Secure Indian Status card (Canadian)
- Permanent Resident card (Canadian),
- any photo card issued under the Photo Card Act, 2008.
All-inclusive Travel Packages
Any licensee may now offer vacation and travel packages that include the cost of a trip, accommodation, food, or other services and liquor for one price.
Changes effective August 2, 2011
The primary business of a premises no longer has to be the sale and service of liquor and food in order to be eligible for a liquor sales licence.
Stadium Endorsement / Tiered Seating
The category of “stadium endorsement” no longer exists. Licensees are now permitted to sell and serve liquor in areas that contain tiered seating without obtaining a stadium endorsement (e.g. fixed tiered seating), including the use of temporary tiered seating (e.g. bleachers).
A licensee cannot add tiered seating without the written approval of the Registrar.