The Liquor Control and Licensing Act regulations outline the penalties an establishment – such as a restaurant, pub or private liquor store – may face for violating the terms of its liquor licence. For instance, a licensee may be given a monetary penalty or suspension for serving drinks outside of liquor-service hours, or for the over-service of patrons. Business owners throughout the province have asked government to recognize their unique needs and to consider a flexible penalty schedule, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
In 2013, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap conducted a review of liquor policies in British Columbia and made 73 recommendations for change, including:
- Government should review enforcement penalties of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) and other jurisdictions to ensure that B.C.’s penalty levels are appropriate (Recommendation #11); and
- Due to the varying size and focus of licensed establishments, consideration should be given to how different types of penalties, e.g., a suspension vs. a monetary penalty, may affect a licensee and their staff (Recommendation #12).
In August 2014, the Province announced that it would review B.C.’s liquor enforcement penalties with consideration to how different types of penalties may impact businesses and their staff, fulfilling these recommendations.
Input was sought on an online Discussion Paper, which included background information, topics for discussion and identified potential areas for change. Government encouraged licensees, industry associations and interested parties to comment on Schedule 4 of the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation as it relates to the recommendations in the recent B.C. Liquor Policy Review final report (“Penalty Schedule”).
August 29 to September 30, 2014
There were 10 responses from industry associations, lawyers, consultants and one private citizen; these responses represent a large numbers of stakeholders. Although we do not know the total number of individuals and licensees who were consulted by these representatives, their responses may be considered to broadly represent the interests of stakeholders. Responses were received by email as a result of the widely distributed Discussion Paper.
LCLB Staff and inter-ministry consultations also occurred, which included submissions from the Liquor Distribution Branch, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Input leads to action:
Work related to Liquor Policy Recommendations #11 and 12 is currently ongoing and is expected to be implemented in 2017.
For more information regarding the Province’s ongoing work to improve liquor policy in British Columbia, please visit the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch’s website.