Under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 (LLCA), reforms have been introduced that change the liquor regulation framework in Ontario.

As part of these reforms, many provisions that focus on the operational aspects of an AGCO licensee’s business have moved from regulation to interim standards.

Moving compliance requirements out of government regulations into Registrar’s Interim Standards and Requirements (Interim Standards) makes it easier to change the rules to be more responsive to emerging trends in the liquor sector. 

What are Interim Standards?

The Interim Standards contain some existing requirements previously found in regulations made under the Liquor Licence Act, 1990 and in Registrar’s Policy. They also include new requirements for new areas under AGCO regulation and newly permissible activities.

The Interim Standards consolidate some of the rules that licence and permit holders must follow in order to comply with their AGCO licence and permit requirements.

  • Some requirements from previous regulations have moved to Interim Standards, such as the requirement to post your licence and invoice requirements for delivery.

  • Registrar’s policies, such as compliance with advertising guidelines, and licence/authorization conditions, such as training requirements for off-site winery retail store employees, have also moved to Interim Standards.

  • In addition, the Interim Standards include requirements to reflect activities or authorities permitted under the LLCA, such as record keeping for manufacturer offsite warehousing.

Some Requirements from Current Regulations
+ Some Conditions on Licences & Authorizations
+ Some Registrar’s Policies
+ Some New Rules                     
= Interim Registrar’s Standards

The Interim Standards are designed to begin simplifying the rules that you must follow to comply with your AGCO licence and permit requirements.

Together, the Interim Standards in conjunction with the LLCA legislation and its regulations form the new legal framework for liquor regulation.

What’s in the Interim Standards?

The Interim Standards set out liquor compliance requirements in eight primary areas, as outlined in the table below. Each section contains interim standards that set out requirements for that specific area. 

Sections

1: Administrative Requirements

Contents Example Note
Contains 10 interim standards that set out requirements for the conduct of licence and permit holders, and the operation of licensed or permitted premises.

Standard 1.4 - Availability of Temporary Extension Endorsement
 

Standard 1.8 – NEW for Manufacturer Retail Stores

 

2: Advertising & Promotional Activities

Contents Example Note
Contains 4 interim standards that set out requirements for advertising & promotional activities, including compliance with Advertising Guidelines, use of premises name in film or TV, promotion requirements for catered events, & advertising sale requirements at Ferment on Premise.

Standard 2.1 - Compliance with Advertising Guidelines

The Registrar’s Guidelines for Advertising & Promotion are listed in Appendix 2.

3: Sampling

Contents Example Note

Contains 7 interim standards that set out requirements for sampling, including product sampling & off-premise product sampling.

Standard 3.1 - Product Sampling by a Manufacturer to Patrons in a Licensed Establishment

Standard 1.8 – NEW for Manufacturer Retail Stores

 

4: Training Related to Responsible Sale, Service & Delivery

Contents Example Note

Contains 1 interim standard that sets out training requirements for the responsible sale, service and delivery of liquor.

Standard 4.1 - Completion of Training

 

5: Safe & Responsible Sale, Service & Delivery of Liquor

Contents Example Note

Contains 15 interim standards that set out requirements for the responsible sale, wholesale, supply, delivery & consumption of liquor.

Interim Standard 5.6 – NEW for Manufacturers and Manufacturer’s Representatives

Interim Standard 5.15 – NEW for Grocery Stores

Retail Stores

 

6: Licensed & Permitted Premises, Accommodation, Equipment & Facilities & Addressing Unlawful Activities in Licensed or Permitted Premises

Contents Example Note

Contains 10 interim standards that address unlawful activities in licensed or permitted premises & set out requirements for licensed & permitted premises, accommodation, equipment & facilities

Interim Standard 6.1 – NEW for SOPs
 

Interim Standard 6.4 – NEW for Auctions

 

Interim Standard 6.7 – NEW for Delivery Endorsement

 

Interim Standard 6.9 – NEW for Auction

 

7: Record Keeping & Provision of Information

Contents Example Note

Contains 24 interim standards that set out requirements for the keeping of records, including financial records.

Interim Standard 7.3 – NEW for LSL

 

Interim Standard 7.9 – NEW for Brewery, Distillery & Winery Licences

 

Interim Standard 7.24 – NEW (Delivery record keeping for auction delivery)

 

8: Ancillary Items List

Contents Example Note

Contains 3 interim standards that set out requirements for the sale of non-liquor products & gift/souvenir packages.

Interim Standard 8.1 – Ancillary Items List

The Ancillary Items List is included in Appendix 1.

Appendix 1

Contents Example Note

Ancillary Items List

   

Appendix 2

Contents Example Note

The Registrar’s Guidelines for Advertising & Promotion

   

 

What do Interim Standards mean for me?

The shift to Interim Standards will likely result in minimal change to your business or to how you interact with the AGCO.

While some minor updates or additions have been made, the substance of most rules remain the same.

As a licence or permit holder, you will continue to sell, serve, deliver, and handle liquor transactions in compliance with applicable legislation and regulations, as you do today. You will also be required to comply with applicable standards.

The AGCO’s licensing, renewal, and compliance processes largely remain the same. 

What do I need to do?

  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Interim Standards, and properly follow all of the rules and requirements that are set out in them.

  • Read the Interim Standards to fully understand their impact on your business

  • Be aware and continue to operate in compliance of all applicable statutes, laws, and regulations, including the LLCA and its regulations.

Moving to Registrar’s Standards

The shift to Interim Standards is the first step in the AGCO’s approach to creating a flexible, adaptive regulatory model that focuses on outcomes rather than prescriptive rules.

These standards and requirements are “interim” because they will eventually be replaced by Registrar’s Standards.

The AGCO will soon begin working to develop a set of Registrar’s Standards and Requirements for Liquor that will build the outcomes-based regulatory model enabled by the LLCA.

Development of the standards will occur over the next several years and will include engagement with the industry.

Over time, the liquor sector will eventually move to risk-based, outcomes-based, and compliance-focused regulation, in line with the AGCO’s approach to the gaming and cannabis sectors.

For more information

Contact the AGCO anytime via the iAGCO online portal or Monday to Friday from 8:30am-5:00pm at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876 (toll-free in Ontario).

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