2016 Compliance and Enforcement Inspection Statistics

Previously Alcohol & Advocacy reported on B.C’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch compliance and enforcement statistics for January – October, 2016. The Compliance and Enforcement division has now made more statistics from 2016 available, including the “Top Ten Contraventions Pursued” which are as follows:

  1. Selling liquor to a minor
  2. Overcrowding beyond occupant load
  3. Contravening a term and condition
  4. Allowing liquor to be removed from establishment
  5. Operating contrary to primary purpose – food primary
  6. Permitting prohibited entertainment
  7. Employee consuming liquor while working
  8. Failing to promptly provide a record, thing or sample
  9. Selling or giving liquor to an intoxicated person
  10. No proof of prescribed server training.

In total the Branch conducted 11,950 inspections of licensed premises. 444 of the inspections involved the Minor as Agent program.

The list of most common contraventions pursued by the Branch is informative:

  • if other licensed establishments are making these mistakes, your staff and management may do the same;
  • it indicates where liquor inspectors are focusing their investigations; and
  • it indicates which contraventions of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act the Branch pursues (rather than dealing with informally).

The sale of liquor to minors unfortunately remains the most contravened section of the Act, and owners and operators of licensed establishments should make the ongoing education of their staff on this subject a top priority. Only the most rigorous and thorough training regimes will be successful if raised as a due diligence defence at a hearing before the Branch.

Other contraventions on the list such as overcrowding, allowing liquor to be removed from the establishment, and selling or giving liquor to an intoxicated person, relate to areas that traditionally fall into the domain of “security” at larger establishments. If your bar or club uses a security company or employs a doorman to maintain safe numbers and ensure intoxicated persons do not enter or remain into your establishment, are they provided with ongoing training on the Act and the terms and conditions of licence applicable to your establishment?

Alternatively, if you bar or restaurant does not have a dedicated doorman or security service, who is responsible for doing head counts or ensuring patrons do not leave with alcohol?

If you have questions about how the Liquor Control and Licensing Act applies to your establishment, or are facing enforcement action, contact Dan Coles at Owen Bird.

*Alcohol & Advocacy publishes articles for information purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal advice, and persons requiring such advice should consult legal counsel.

Dan Coles
Retired bartender. Young lawyer. From the East, living in the West. Interested in British Columbia's producers and purveyors of wine, beer and spirits.