1. What is the purpose of monetary penalties?
Licensees and registrants who are not in compliance with the law could be assessed a monetary penalty. The primary purpose of monetary penalties is to act as a bridge between a simple warning and a suspension of a licence or registration, and to provide the AGCO with an added compliance tool for working with licensees and registrants before a significant suspension or revocation may be necessary.
2. Who will be affected by monetary penalties?
Potentially any AGCO licensee or registrant. As an alternative to suspensions or revocations, a licensee or registrant may be assessed a monetary penalty as a result of specific breaches of the LLA, GCA and their regulations. The amount of the monetary penalty will be based on approved Schedules, please see Liquor Licence Act Schedule of Penalties and Gaming Control Act, 1992 Schedule of Penalties (listed below in Q4).
3. What are the actual dollar amounts of the penalties?
Each type of infraction has a certain maximum monetary penalty associated with it. The Registrar will impose an amount up to that maximum. For example, if the monetary penalty for X is up to $1,000 then the Registrar may impose a monetary penalty of any amount up to $1,000 depending on all of the circumstances of the incident.
It is important to note that what are listed in the schedules are maximums only and that most penalties assessed will actually fall lower in the potential range, based on individual circumstances.
4. What is the process for being assessed a monetary penalty?
Monetary penalties is not an ‘on the spot´ ticket system, such as one would get for a traffic or parking violation. Instead, the process for assessing a monetary penalty is similar to the one used to make decisions about proposals to suspend or revoke a licence, and the information provided to the Registrar will flow through the same channels. This approach allows licensees and registrants the ability to provide input before monetary penalties are imposed. In many cases, a licensee or registrant will be given the opportunity to provide comments to the AGCO to discuss the specifics of the situation before any monetary penalties are imposed.
5. What will the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming consider before deciding to assess a monetary penalty?
When deciding whether or not to impose a monetary penalty, the Registrar will look at each case individually and consider the following criteria when relevant:
- Is the monetary penalty likely to help ensure future compliance by the licensee or registrant?
- What is the disciplinary history of the licensee or registrant, such as prior written warnings, conditions or terms, monetary penalties, suspensions, revocations and/or prosecutions?
- How was the alleged contravention discovered or disclosed?
- Did the alleged contravention involve actual or potential injury or loss to persons, property, or both?
- What is the type, size and location of the licensee, registrant or registered business?
- Are there any mitigating circumstances, including a good compliance history?
- Is there a need for general or specific deterrence?
6. Will I be able to dispute or appeal my monetary penalty?
Any licensee or registrant assessed a monetary penalty may ask for an appeal before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), which may uphold or set aside the monetary penalty for the infraction. However, if LAT upholds the monetary penalty, it cannot adjust the actual amount of the penalty imposed by the Registrar.
7. Could two different establishments be assessed different monetary penalty amounts for the same infraction?
Yes. Seldom are two situations exactly the same, even for the same type of infraction. The amount of an assessed monetary penalty is based on the particular circumstances of the infraction, including the compliance history of the licensee. The quantum of a monetary penalty will be higher where a particular infraction is of a more serious nature, and/or can escalate where the licensee has previously been in contravention however continues to operate in non-compliance with the Liquor Licence Act.
8. Could a single establishment be assessed different monetary penalty amounts for the same infraction that occurred at different times?
Yes. Remember that each infraction will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and a graduated approach may be used for repeat infractions.
9. Will monetary penalties just become "the cost of doing business" for successful establishments who have repeated infractions and can afford to pay the penalties?
No. The primary goal of the introduction of monetary penalties is to help ensure future compliance. If a licensee or registrant incurs repeated or serious infractions, the Registrar will likely propose to suspend or, if warranted, revoke the licence or registration.
10. Were monetary penalties developed in order to make money for the AGCO or for government?
No. The AGCO is required to use all of the monies collected through monetary penalties exclusively for education and training programs for licensees, permit holders and registrants, as well as for public awareness. This should encourage a greater understanding of regulatory requirements by industry stakeholders, as well as the responsibilities of the public-at-large, and help to create an environment more conducive for regulatory compliance.