Alcohol and Gaming

The AGCO uses monetary penalties as an additional compliance tool for licensees, authorized retailers and registrants who have contravened the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), the Liquor Control Act (LCA), the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (GCA) and their Regulations. A monetary penalty is a financial consequence where the licensee, authorized retailer or registrant pays a defined amount as a result of a contravention of the GCA, LCA and/or LLA. The introduction of monetary penalties is one component towards achieving compliance and also brings Ontario in line with the majority of other Canadian jurisdictions, which have some form of monetary penalty system.

How monetary penalties affect licensees, authorized retailers and registrants

The primary purpose of monetary penalties is to act as a bridge between a simple warning and a suspension of a licence, authorization or registration, and to provide the AGCO with an added compliance tool for working with licensees, authorized retailers and registrants before a significant suspension or revocation may be necessary.

In other words, monetary penalties are designed to promote compliance so that the suspension or revocation of a licence, authorization or registration does not become a necessary measure. Monetary penalties, however, will not replace the ability to suspend or revoke a licence, authorization or a registration where the situation warrants, but will instead complement other compliance tools available to the AGCO.

Monetary penalties are specifically geared to the circumstances of infraction

The Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing (the Registrar) looks at each case individually and considers the following criteria, if relevant, when deciding whether or not to impose a monetary penalty:

  • Is the monetary penalty likely to help ensure future compliance by the licensee, authorized retailer or registrant?
  • What is the disciplinary history of the licensee, authorized retailer or registrant, such as prior written warnings, conditions or terms, monetary penalties, suspensions, revocations and/or prosecutions?
  • How was the alleged contravention discovered or disclosed?
  • Did the alleged contravention involve actual or potential injury or loss to persons, property, or both?
  • What is the type, size and location of the licensee, authorized retailer, registrant or registered business?
  • Are there any mitigating circumstances, including a good compliance history?
  • Is there a need for general or specific deterrence?

Monetary penalties as an additional tool to promote compliance with the law

With the introduction of monetary penalties, the types of compliance tools available to the Registrar to deal with contraventions of the LLA, LCA and GCA and their Regulations now include:

  • Education;
  • Verbal warning;
  • Written warning;
  • Monetary penalty;
  • Increased monetary penalty;
  • Additional licence conditions, terms of authorization, or terms of registration, including through Risk-Based Licensing and Risk-Based Registration;
  • Suspension of licence, authorization or registration;
  • Increased suspension of licence, authorization or registration;
  • Revocation of licence, authorization or registration.

In other words, monetary penalties can be selected from a series of escalating regulatory options available - ranging from warnings to revocations – in order to gain compliance.

The schedules of monetary penalties that have been established by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (the Board) and approved by the Minister can be viewed below.

The ranges of monetary penalties are designed to address the specific risks posed by each infraction and by the various industries regulated by the AGCO. It is important to note that what are listed in the schedules are maximums only and that most penalties assessed will actually fall lower in the potential range, based on individual circumstances.

The amount of an assessed monetary penalty is based on the particular circumstances of the infraction, including the compliance history of the licensee, authorized retailer or registrant. The quantum of a monetary penalty will be higher where a particular infraction is of a more serious nature, and/or can escalate where the licensee, authorized retailer or registrant has previously been ordered to pay a monetary penalty however continues to operate in non-compliance with the LLA, LCA or GCA. The AGCO is required to use funds collected through monetary penalties exclusively for education and training programs for licensees, authorization holders, permit holders and registrants, as well as for public awareness campaigns, which will further promote compliance with the law in the future.

For any further questions related to monetary penalties, please see our Monetary Penalties FAQs .

AGCO Board Guidelines - Monetary Penalties

Made pursuant to section 4 of the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996 for the imposition of monetary penalties established pursuant to section 14.1 of the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996

Preamble

Monetary penalties provide the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing with a tool to support a compliance-based regulatory regime. To ensure transparency and fairness, the Board articulates the following factors for consideration by the Registrar when exercising discretion to impose this form of discipline on a licensee or permit holder under the Liquor Licence Act, authorization holder under the Liquor Control Act, or a registrant under the Gaming Control Act, 1992.

Decision to Impose a Monetary Penalty

When deciding whether to impose a monetary penalty rather than some other form of discipline on a licensee, authorization holder, permit holder, or registrant, the Registrar shall have regard and give appropriate weight to the following non-exhaustive list of factors:

  1. The monetary penalty´s potential effectiveness in ensuring future compliance by the licensee, authorization holder, permit holder or registrant;
  2. The discipline history of the licensee, authorization holder, permit holder or registrant, such as prior written warning, conditions or terms, monetary penalties, suspensions, revocations and/or prosecutions;
  3. The manner in which the contravention was discovered or disclosed;
  4. Whether the contravention involved actual or potential injury or loss to persons, property, or both;
  5. The type, size and location of the licensee, authorization holder, permit holder, registrant or registered business, where relevant;
  6. Any mitigating circumstances, including compliance history; and,
  7. The need for general or specific deterrence.

Horse Racing

The AGCO Board has authority under section 14.1 of the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996 to establish, subject to the approval of the Minister, a schedule of monetary penalties that may be imposed with respect to contraventions of the Acts and regulations administered by the Commission.  This includes the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015 (HRLA) and regulation made thereto, although the AGCO Board has not yet established a schedule of monetary penalties for that Act or its regulations.

Under the HRLA and the Rules of Racing, Judges, Stewards and Racing Officials have the power to fix, impose and collect penalties for contraventions of the Rules of Racing.

The AGCO is required by legislation to use all money received from monetary penalties and penalties collected pursuant to contraventions of the Rules of Racing for education and training programs for licensees as well as for public awareness purposes.