The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) employs a risk-based approach when issuing and regulating special occasion permits. This is referred to as risk-based permitting. This allows the AGCO to encourage good business practices throughout the industry and to strategically focus regulatory resources where they will make the most difference.
Although there is always some risk attached to the sale and service of alcohol, the AGCO recognizes that because of the type of event, location, number of attendees, etc., some events pose a greater risk to public safety, to the public interest and/or to non-compliance with the law. Risk-based permitting is part of the AGCO’s regulatory approach to focus decision-making based on risk assessments, and focus on compliance rather than solely on enforcement.
Overall, risk-based permitting is helpful for special occasion permit holders as it assists them in selling and serving liquor at their events in a safe and responsible way, and in compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act and its regulations.
The authority to carry out risk-based permitting is given to the AGCO under Section 19 of the Liquor Licence and Control Act.
How Risk-Based Permitting Works
There are four key principles behind risk-based permitting:
- To identify persons or places that pose specific risks to public safety or the public interest;
- To lessen any risks and ensure compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act;
- To reduce the administrative burden for those who pose a lower risk, where possible; and
- To focus more AGCO resources on those events that pose greater risks.
The application of risk-based permitting is a two-step process:
- After an application is received, the AGCO may review the application to determine if there are any risks associated with an event and whether the applicants may require assistance to understand how to conduct an event in a responsible manner. During the review, the Registrar uses AGCO Board-approved criteria to assess the risk(s) posed to public safety and public interest, and of non-compliance with the law.
- Criteria relating to permit holders/applicants are: past conduct, liquor-related infractions, honesty and integrity, financial responsibility, and experience and training.
- Criteria relating to the premises are: type, location, estimated attendance, activities and hours of operation.
After reviewing all the available information on both the permit holder/applicant and the premises, the Registrar assesses the risks and determines if the permit should have any conditions.
- If the Registrar believes that a permit holder/applicant may need more assistance and support to remain compliant with the Liquor Licence and Control Act the Registrar may attach certain conditions (from among those approved by the AGCO Board for this purpose) to the permit to help address the identified risks.
Below is a complete list of these conditions, as approved by the AGCO Board specifically for this purpose.
Risk Based Permitting Criteria and Conditions
Part A: Criteria
• Past conduct
• Liquor-related infractions
• Honesty and integrity
• Financial responsibility
• Experience and training
• Estimated attendance
• Hours of event
Part B: Conditions
- The permit holder shall not employ any person in the position of licensed security, personnel, service staff, or other function without the prior approval of the Registrar.
- The permit holder shall comply with any terms, conditions or other requirements of any business or similar licence, permit or authorization issued by any governmental authority, including a municipal or regional government.
- The permit holder shall ensure sufficient lighting at entrance and exit gates, ticket sales and bar service areas to facilitate ID checking.
- The permit holder shall ensure liquor ticket refunds are available.
- The permit holder must meet with AGCO staff prior to permit issuance.
- The permit holder shall offer food and non-alcoholic drinks to patrons at all times that liquor is for sale or served.
- The permit holder shall file a price list for the sale of liquor with the Registrar and shall not alter the price of liquor without the approval of the Registrar.
- The permit holder shall ensure that all beverage alcohol is served only in containers approved by the Registrar.
Hours of Operation
- The permit holder shall sell and serve liquor only during hours specified by Registrar.
- The permit holder shall not sell or serve and shall not permit consumption of liquor after XY o’clock on a patio or other outdoor areas.
- The permit holder shall ensure liquor ticket sales are limited to XY (TIME, DATE).
- The permit holder shall not provide or permit amplified music or other forms of entertainment in outdoor areas or to be directed towards outdoor areas.
- The permit holder shall immediately notify the Registrar of any charges laid and/or tickets issued to the permit holder in relation to contravention of noise bylaws.
- The permit holder shall ensure that no live or amplified music is played in outdoor area(s) or is directed towards outdoor area(s) after XY (am/pm).
- The permit holder shall not provide or permit music or other forms of entertainment in outdoor areas.
- The permit holder shall ensure that the identification of every patron who appears to be under the age of 25 years is checked and verified.
- The permit holder shall ensure that no person under the age of 19 years enters the premises/licensed area.
- The permit holder shall ensure that a wristband is placed on all patrons 19 and over and shall not allow service of liquor to any patron that is not wearing a wristband.
- The permit holder shall comply with the TYPE OF PLAN filed with the Registrar.
- The permit holder shall not apply for an increase in capacity.
- The permit holder shall not apply for an extension of hours.
- The permit holder shall maintain an accurate count of the number of patrons at the event at all times.
- The permit holder shall ensure no more than XY liquor tickets are sold to one person at one time.
- The permit holder shall ensure no more than XY drinks containing liquor are served to one person at one time.
- The permit holder shall ensure entrances and exits are monitored during all hours of the permit.
- The permit holder shall ensure a minimum of XY licensed security staff to be on duty from open to close each day, having XY per entrance/exit and XY roaming staff.
- The permit holder shall ensure XY licensed security personnel for XY (Time/Date).
- The permit holder shall ensure organizers, volunteers, staff and licensed security are easily and consistently identifiable.
- The permit holder shall ensure no bottles or cans are served to patrons.
- The permit holder shall ensure that all beverage alcohol is served only in plastic containers or otherwise shatterproof containers.
- The permit holder shall ensure a minimum XY foot fence will be used to form a perimeter to separate the licensed area from the unlicensed areas.
- The permit holder shall ensure controlled lines will be used at line ups at the entrances and exits to licensed areas.
- The permit holder shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure there is no violence or disorderly conduct in or adjacent to the premises caused by employees or patrons by DATE.
- The permit holder shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure that there is no illegal gambling in the premises by DATE.
- The permit holder shall file with the Registrar and comply with stated measures to ensure that there is no illegal drug use or sale in or adjacent to the premises by DATE.