Category Archives for Liquor Control Act Enforcement

Liquor Control and Licensing Branch clarifies “ID Checking Misconceptions”

In the Spring 2018 edition of Liquor Line, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch’s biannual newsletter, the LCLB affirmed the basic principle that licensees are responsible for making sure their staff do not provide liquor to minors, but also clarified situations where it is “ok” for staff not to check ID.

The Branch clarified that staff members observed not asking a youthful looking person for ID is not itself a contravention of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, or the terms and conditions of a licence – it is the act of selling or serving liquor to a minor that is a contravention. The Branch provided the following examples to clarify the point:

  • If your staff member happens to know that a youthful looking person is 19 years of age or older, and a liquor inspector observes them not asking that person for ID, that is not a contravention provided that the patron can satisfying the inspector they are 19 or older;
  • Staff are permitted to refuse service when they believe an individual is a minor, even if they don’t ask that person for ID.

The Branch stressed that where there is any doubt, requesting two pieces of ID remains the best practice.

As Alcohol & Advocacy has previously discussed, staff are also entitled to refuse service when they believe an individual is intoxicated, or has been previously asked to leave.

For licensees, providing ongoing training for staff on the basics of asking for and inspecting identification is of paramount importance. Not only is it the responsible thing to do, but a meaningful and thorough staff training regimen with ongoing reinforcement of the Serving It Right curriculum goes a long way towards mounting a successful defence of contravention enforcement action.

Despite the LCLB’s ongoing efforts to educate licencees on the importance of preventing the sale and service of alcohol to minors, contraventions for the same remain the leading cause of enforcement action against licensees. The penalty for a first contravention of serving a minor is a 10 day licence suspension or a $7,500 fine.

If your establishment has been served with a contravention notice, or is facing enforcement action, contact Dan Coles at Owen Bird for assistance.

*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.

Brew Street Craft and Kitchen: Permitting an intoxicated person to remain

St. Patrick’s Day is a big source of business for the liquor industry. While all owners and managers hope that the day will run smoothly, and profitably, the failure by staff to comply with the terms of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, namely by over-service, can put a damper on the festivities. Regrettably, the Brew Street Craft and Kitchen learned this the hard way last year.

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Should I sign a Liquor Control and Licensing Branch waiver notice?

If a liquor inspector or police officer observes a contravention of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, Regulation or the terms and conditions of your establishment’s licence, they will issue a contravention notice. If the contravention is a recurring problem or a threat to public safety, the inspector may recommend enforcement action. At that point you as licensee will be given the option of signing a waiver notice or proceeding to an enforcement hearing. Licensees should discuss this important election with counsel at the earliest opportunity.

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Contravention Notice:  Failing to promptly produce and submit a record

A licensee in British Columbia may receive a Contravention Notice from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for a variety of reasons; serving minors and over-serving patrons are two of the most common. However, another issue arises with more frequency than most managers and owners probably realize: failing to promptly produce a record or thing for inspection.

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Liquor Law Enforcement in Resort Communities

Licensees who operate in vacation destinations or resort communities know that that many of their patrons are visiting from away, and are in town to relax. Customers may be from foreign jurisdictions where the laws and culture surrounding the service and consumption of alcohol are very different than they are here in British Columbia; alternatively their customers may very well know the local laws and restrictions but feel that the laws should be as relaxed as they are.

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2016 BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act Contravention Statistics

From time-to-time the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch releases compliance and enforcement statistics. The most recent statistics on licensee contraventions of BC’s liquor laws are for the period between January and October, 2016. Alcohol & Advocacy has previously written on this issue for the period between January, 2010 and  December, 2013, and that article can be found here.

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