November 9, 2021
Recent changes to the liquor framework in Ontario will impact all existing Smart Serve® certificate holders as of July 1, 2022.
On November 29, 2021, Ontario’s new liquor legislation, the new Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 (LLCA), will come into effect. At the same time, the Registrar’s Interim Standards and Requirements (Interim Standards) will also come into effect and will apply to all licence and permit holders in the liquor sector. Some of the requirements previously found in legislation and regulations will instead be found in the Interim Standards.
The Interim Standards will include a requirement that anyone involved in the sale, service, delivery or sampling of liquor, or who takes liquor orders from customers, must hold a valid (non-expired) certificate from a liquor training program approved by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Smart Serve is Ontario’s only approved liquor training program.
Building off this requirement in the Interim Standards, the AGCO is introducing a five-year term for all new and existing liquor training certifications. This means that anyone involved in the sale, service, delivery, or sampling of liquor, or who takes liquor orders from customers must complete the Smart Serve training program every five years.
AGCO has adopted the industry best practice of recertification in recognition of the significant recent modernization to Ontario’s liquor sector. The Smart Serve program has continually evolved, including by introducing content on the new LLCA, cannabis consumption, grocery sales, tailgating, alcohol delivery and sexual violence and harassment in licensed establishments. As the liquor sector continues to evolve, recertification will help ensure that servers, delivery and sales staff remain well-informed and up-to-date on current liquor laws and that they maintain the necessary skills and behaviors to sell, serve and deliver alcohol responsibly.
Recertification to Start Next Summer
Recertification will begin starting on July 1, 2022, but no certificates will expire until one year later, on June 30, 2023:
- Liquor training certificates issued before July 1, 2018, will expire on June 30, 2023, at 11:59pm. This includes Smart Serve certificates and certificates issued prior to 1995 from the Server Intervention Program (SIP).
- Smart Serve certificates issued on or after July 1, 2018, will expire 5 years from the date of issuance (e.g., if you were certified on July 2, 2018, your certificate will expire on July 1, 2023 at 11:59pm).
Certificate holders must recertify before their certificate expires in order to maintain a valid certificate. As of July 1, 2022, all Smart Serve certificates (new and existing) will include expiry dates. Existing certificate holders can check their certificate expiry date by logging into their Smart Serve account.
Smart Serve will offer existing certificate holders a discounted price of $29.95 to recertify if the program is completed before their existing certificate expires.
More information on the LLCA and changes to the regulatory and legislative framework for liquor in Ontario may be found here.
For questions or more information about your certificate or the Smart Serve program, please contact Smart Serve at 416-695-8737 / 1-877-620-6082 (toll-free) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smart Serve Recertification Opens
Certificates issued before July 1, 2018 expire at this time.
Certificates issued on or after July 1, 2018 expire 5 years from when they were first issued.