The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for administering the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) and specific sections of the Liquor Control Act (LCA), which together with the regulations made under them establish the licensing and regulatory regime for most aspects relating to the sale and service of alcohol in Ontario.
The LLA and its regulations provide the AGCO with the authority to licence and regulate various classes of licences and permits established under the legislation, including:
- Licences for establishments to sell or serve alcohol to the public (e.g. bars and restaurants)
- Licences for ferment-on-premise facilities
- Licences for liquor delivery services
- Manufacturers’ licences
- Licences to represent a manufacturer
- Special occasion permits for the sale and service of beverage alcohol on special occasions (for example, cash bars at fundraising events, weddings, receptions and “Stag & Doe”/”Jack & Jill” parties)
Since 2014, the AGCO has also been responsible for authorizing wine and cider sales at farmers’ markets, and since 2016/17, for authorizing grocery stores to sell beer, wine or cider to the public (including within wine boutiques operated within those grocery stores).
The LLA and LCA also provide for an inspection and enforcement regime to ensure that licensees, permit holders and authorized grocery stores and manufacturers’ retail stores act in compliance with the law relating to the sale and service of alcohol.
The AGCO’s key regulatory objectives in relation to the sale and service of alcohol are to:
- Ensure the alcohol sector is operated with honesty and integrity and in the broader public interest
- Ensure that alcohol is sold and served responsibly
- Ensure that residents are provided an opportunity to have their views considered during the licensing process
- Permit Ontarians and visitors opportunities to responsibly enjoy beverage alcohol within an economically viable hospitality and tourism sector.
For more information about the specific types of licences available in the alcohol sector, visit the Alcohol section of the website.