New Liquor Act Comes Into Force

The new Liquor Control and Licensing Act came into force on Monday, January 23, 2017. The Act incorporates legislative changes necessary to implement some of the 73 recommendations made as part of the Province’s 2013 Liquor Policy Review. Using a gradual implementation process that began in 2014, the Province has now implemented 64 of the 73 recommendations.

Notably, almost any business is now able to apply for a liquor license; hotels that own licensed establishments may offer guests a complimentary alcoholic drink upon check-in and allow guests to carry drinks from licensed areas to their rooms; restaurants may apply to operate as a bar (and vice versa) during specific hours; liquor manufacturers may offer patrons liquor other than what is produced on-site and offer guided tours without applying for permission; and, theatres may allow customers to consume alcohol purchased on-site in the lobby and licensed seating area (even if minors are present).

Many of the changes were discussed at the most recent Local Government Liquor Policy Working Group meeting, and include several that impact local governments. In many cases, local governments have the flexibility to influence potential changes through their own licensing and zoning regulations.

The Local Government Working Group on Liquor Policy is the forum created for consultation and communication between the Province and local governments with respect to changes in liquor policy.

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