British Columbia’s liquor licensing regime is administered by the general manager – an individual appointed under the Public Service Act by the cabinet minister responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch, which is currently part of the Ministry of Small Business portfolio. The general manager, and the staff he or she delegates powers and responsibilities to, have significant impact on the way liquor laws are developed and applied in British Columbia.
On May 20, 2016 the general manager of the Liquor Licensing and Control Branch issued its decision in Re Caprice Hospitality Inc. dba Caprice Nightclub ordering a 15 day suspension of the popular Vancouver nightclub’s liquor primary licence. The decision can be found here.
Alcohol & Advocacy has previously considered what it means to be a fit and proper person for the purpose of holding a liquor licence in British Columbia: the criteria are broad and the discretion is great. Many of the criteria relate to an assessment of what the licence applicant has actually done, such as having a criminal record or committing violations of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act. But what about the less objective criteria – such as being “of good reputation and character” or being “associated” with people involved in criminal activities? How do regulators interpret those requirements?
On October 1, 1917 British Columbia “went dry”, giving way to the pressure of the temperance movement sweeping the nation. Less than four years later the ineffective and corrupt Prohibition regime came to an end on June 15, 1921 when an Act to provide for Government Control and Sale of Alcoholic Liquors came into force, known by its short title the Government Liquor Act.
On November 6, 2015 the general manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch issued its decision in re Generator Cabaret case number EH15-017.
Spend enough time in a bar (on either side of the pine) and you’ll eventually hear those words. In some establishments you hear them more than others. So what happens when a patron has had too much to drink, or is being unruly, and the bartender decides it’s time for him or her to move along?
Have you ever stopped to consider how strange it is that bars, restaurants and caterers in British Columbia (and most other provinces) pay the same for beverage alcohol as you or I would if we walked into our local government liquor store?
We have all had the experience: that niggling suspicion that the bar or nightclub we’re in is watering down its booze – or maybe that the liquor coming out of the bottle isn’t of the same quality as the label would suggest. Personally I’ve only ever felt that way in questionable nightclubs, but as the decision of the General Manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch in re 395047 B.C. Ltd. dba Boston Pizza makes clear, even family-friendly chain restaurants can fall into the trap of cutting corners with their liquor supply.