New Process for Approving Special Occasion Licences

The Province is implementing a new online application process for the approval of liquor licences for small, low risk events. Offering online applications for Special Occasion Licences (SOLs) is expected to enhance public safety by providing officials with information in real-time about events happening in their communities.

A number of new policy changes and operating rules for SOLs are also being introduced:

•  New SOL frequency limits – up to three events per month, up to 24 total per year, per applicant;
•  Applicants will be required to obtain local government/First Nation approvals in advance for events on their lands or properties.  Applicants without the necessary approvals may have the licence cancelled by police or the LCLB;
•  Local governments and First Nations will be notified of all SOLs issued in their area.  They are encouraged to continue taking part in CAPE or Festival Committees, may impose conditions on SOLs under local bylaws;
•  Changes to SOL Maximum Price Schedule;
•  Police and liquor inspectors will undertake a review, based on the type of event and number of people attending; and,
•  Liquor inspectors will review and approve all SOLs where 500 or more people are attending and the security plan provided.

The implementation of the new SOLs system is currently underway and is being rolled out across different regions of the province in stages:

•  April 7 – for events in Northern BC and Vancouver Island;
•  April 20 – for events in Metro Vancouver, and the Fraser Valley and South Coast region; and,
•  May 4 – for events in the South Interior.

The Province currently processes up to 25,000 Special Occasion Licenses (SOLs) a year – from small weddings, club meetings and fundraisers to sports tournaments, music festivals and food and beverage events.  Under the new system applicants hosting a small event will be able to apply for an SOL on their computer or mobile device, obtain approval for the event, and purchase the liquor from a BC Liquor Store or approved supplier, such as a brewery, winery or distillery.

For more information, please contact Brad McRobert, Special Occasion Licence Program at (250) 952-5741 or toll free at 1-866-209-2111.

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