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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.

Cooper v. British Columbia: Court of Appeal rebukes Liquor Control and Licensing Branch

British Columbia’s Court of Appeal ended 2017 with a stinging rebuke of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch’s October, 2016 decision to cancel the liquor licences of Dell Lanes, a family-operated bowling alley in Surrey, B.C.  Madam Justice Newbury, after being left with a “sense of unease” concerning the decision-making process followed by the Branch ordered that the bowling alley’s licences be renewed, albeit with some additional conditions.

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