February 16, 2018 - As per Ontario’s Liquor Licence Act, anyone who wishes to serve alcohol outside of a residence, a private place or a licensed establishment must first obtain a Special Occasion Permit (SOP). A SOP is also required to sell alcohol anywhere outside of a licensed establishment. SOPs are for occasional, special events only, and not for personal profit or for running an ongoing business.

As of April 1, 2018, two changes will take effect with regards to applications for SOPs.

1. All applications for SOPs must be made online

For many years, applying for a SOP was done through a paper-based application process at designated LCBO stores. In May 2017, the AGCO introduced online services, which provided SOP applicants the additional option of applying for their permits online through the AGCO’s web-based portal, called iAGCO. During a transition period, both the paper-based on the online process were available to applicants.

As of April 1, 2018, all SOP applications will have to be made online through the iAGCO portal, available at iAGCO. As of that date, the LCBO will no longer accept or process applications for SOPs. 

SOP applications made through the online portal are processed more quickly and can often be received on the same day. Customers who have used iAGCO to obtain their SOP have been overwhelmingly satisfied with its ease of use and functionality.

2. New fees for SOPs

The fees for obtaining a SOP will be adjusted as of April 1, 2018. In the case of “No Sale” SOPs, the changes will be gradually introduced over a two-year period, as further detailed below. These will be the first changes to SOP fees in over 15 years and are necessary to recover a portion of AGCO regulatory costs associated with the administration of SOPs.

New fees for a “No Sale” SOP

A “No Sale” permit is required when:

  • alcohol is served without charge;
  • no money and/or other forms of payment is collected directly or indirectly for alcohol from guests (e.g. through admission charge or ticket sales); and
  • the permit holder absorbs all alcohol costs.

The fee for “No Sale” SOPs is currently set at $25 per day. The fee will be adjusted as follows:

  • $35 per day, from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019;
  • $45 per day, from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020;
  • $50 per day, from April 1, 2020 onwards.

New fees for a “Sale” SOP

A “Sale Permit” is required for events where attendees of the event are expected to pay money, so that the SOP holder can recover the hosting costs for alcohol through, for example:

  • an admission charge to the event; and/or
  • the sale of alcohol (cash bar) or alcohol tickets sold to attendees of the event; or
  • the collection of money and/or other forms of payments for alcohol before the event.

“Sale” SOPs are currently set at $75 and valid for up to three consecutive days.  As of April 1, 2018, the fee for “Sale” permits will increase to $150 per each day of the event. 

If you have any questions, AGCO Customer Service is available to assist you.

Submit your questions online via the iAGCO portal.

General Telephone: 416-326-8700

Toll-Free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876


For more information:

AGCO Fee Schedule

Infographic: Which type of SOP do you need?

Special Occasion Permit: Private Event

Special Occasion Permit Application Guide

iAGCO Online Services

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