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FAQs - Special Occasion Permits


General SOP FAQs

General Questions

1. What is a Special Occasion Permit (SOP) and when is it required?

An SOP is required for the sale and service of alcohol at special occasions such as weddings, charity fundraisers, receptions, etc. SOPs are issued through Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) SOP service stores throughout the province. A permit is needed any time liquor is offered for sale or served anywhere other than in a licensed establishment or a private place (for example, a private office or a residence), and may include common areas of multiple unit residential buildings. It is unnecessary to obtain an SOP if an event is already being conducted under the authority of a caterer´s endorsement.

2. What are the application fees for an SOP?

The new application fee structure is as follows:

  • The application fee for a No Sale event remains the same and is $25 per day for all three event types.
  • The application fee for a Sale event is $75 for up to three consecutive days for all three event types.

For example, the chart below shows a “No-Sale” event taking place over three days (at $25 per day):

Example of "No-Sale" event taking place over 3 days
Date(s) Start Time End Time Room Name/Area/Location Estimated Attendance per day
Apr 9/11 7pm 2am Main Hall 80
Apr 10/11 12pm 2am Patio 100
Apr 11/11 11am 1am Banquet Room A 70

Total application fee = $75

The chart below shows a “Sale” event taking place over five days (at $75 for up to three consecutive days):

Example of "Sale" event taking place over 5 days
Date(s) Start Time End Time Room Name/Area/Location Estimated Attendance per day
Apr 9/11 7pm 2am Main Hall 80
Apr 10/11 12pm 2am Patio 100
Apr 11/11 11am 1am Banquet Room A 70
May 5/11 11am 1am Banquet Room A 70
May 6/11 11am 1am Banquet Room A 70

Total application fee = $150

3. Can I apply for and pick up my SOP at any LCBO store?
  • SOP applicants are no longer required to submit their application at a store in the municipality (or closest to) where the event is taking place.
  • Applications can now be submitted to any LCBO SOP service store in the province of Ontario. For a list of locations please visit LCBO Special Occasion Permit Issuing Stores LCBO Special Occasion Permit Service Stores
.
4. Can the municipality restrict the hours of my event, or place other limitations on my event?

If the event is taking place on municipally owned and operated properties, municipal alcohol policies may apply to the event.

Private Events

5. I would like to serve homemade wine/beer at my wedding or other religious occasion, as well as offer an open bar or cash bar. Can both be offered at the same time?

Yes, however, homemade wine/beer can only be served, not sold. All other product must be purchased under the permit and alcohol purchase receipts must be available upon request.

Industry Promotional Events

6. I am an AGCO licensed representative, as well as the event organizer. What box should I select on the application form?
  • If you are an AGCO licensed representative organizing an Industry Promotional Event, please select the box indicating you are an “AGCO licensed representative”.
  • If you are a manufacturer organizing an Industry Promotional Event, please select the box indicating you are a “manufacturer”.
  • If you are neither an AGCO licensed representative or a manufacturer, please select “event organizer” as the applicant type.
7. I am providing samples at my Industry Promotional Event. What is a sample size?

Sample sizes are determined by those individuals providing the samples. However, a “sample” is generally defined as a small part or quantity intended to show what the whole is like; for example with food, alcohol or other commodity.

8. What is considered market research?

Market Research events must be conducted for the purposes of gathering and analyzing information about consumers’ needs and preferences in regards to one or more products.

9. Can Ferment on Premise products be sampled at a Market Research event?

No, homemade or Ferment on Premise products cannot be sampled under an Industry Promotional Event SOP.

10. What does it mean to “take orders” from patrons at an Industry Promotional Event?

Manufacturers and Licensed Representatives of a manufacturer are permitted to take orders for products at the event. The orders, however, must be processed through an LCBO, LCBO Agency Store, The Beer Store or any authorized winery, brewery or distillery retail store (manufacturer’s retail store). No retailing is allowed at the event.

11. Can two permits be issued in conjunction with each other?

Yes. An example where this might occur is at an Annual Ribfest. A Public Event SOP may be taken out for the overall event and manufacturers may apply for an Industry Promotional Event SOP to take place at the same time. The permit areas for each will need to be separated by a 36” (0.9m) partition/barrier.

Auctions

12. In the past I have applied for an Auction SOP. What kind of permit do I take out now if I want to auction alcohol at my event?

  • Effective July 1, 2012, the Auction category no longer exists under the SOP program.
  • If you are holding an auction event where alcohol will be auctioned to the public, you are required to obtain a Letter of Authorization from the AGCO. Please Ensure that you are eligible for a Letter of Authorization to hold an auction by reviewing the required criteria – (visit the Auction Authorization web page for details).
  • Outdoor Events

    13. What happens if I cannot meet the application or notification timelines?

    If the applicant submits a late application, or has not notified the proper authorities within the required timelines, the application may be refused. You may still wish to submit your application past the deadline, however, it is at the LCBO Store Manager’s discretion whether to process the application.

    14. If I want to partner my Public Event with a liquor sales licensee(s), who gets the application: the LCBO or AGCO? Is there a fee for making this type of agreement?

    As part of the Public Event SOP application process, you will be required to provide a list to the LCBO of the participating liquor sales licensees for the proposed outdoor event. You may also wish to include the agreement(s) required between the SOP holder and the liquor sales licensee(s) as part of the application process.

    However, you need to make sure that the AGCO receives the agreement(s) at least 30 days prior to the event for the Registrar's review. Therefore, either build in sufficient extra time when you submit the application to the LCBO, or just forward the agreement directly to the AGCO.

    There is no fee for submitting and reviewing the agreement(s).

    Multiple Day Events

    15. I do not have a multiple day event permit, but my event is taking place over two consecutive days. Am I allowed to store the alcohol purchased for the event?

    Yes. If you have a SOP for an event that runs on consecutive days then you can purchase all of the alcohol at one time and store the alcohol to be carried over from one day to the next. The police and AGCO Inspectors must be given unobstructed access to the alcohol for inspection purposes. You are not required to notify the AGCO that alcohol will be carried over from one day to the next if your event runs on consecutive days.

    Conditions and Monetary Penalties

    16. What is a monetary penalty, and when might a permit holder be assessed a monetary penalty?

    The Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming may assess a monetary penalty against the holder of a Special Occasion Permit for any breaches of the Liquor Licence Act or regulation. If the permit holder wishes to appeal the assessment, he/she may request an appeal before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). For more information on requesting an appeal, please visit LAT’s website at www.lat.gov.on.ca

    17. What is a condition and why might the Registrar put conditions on my permit?

    The AGCO is taking a new approach to the issuance and regulation of SOPs called risk-based permitting (RBP), which allows the AGCO to encourage good business practices throughout the industry, enhance public safety and ensure that AGCO resources are focussed where they will make the most difference.

    Under risk-based permitting, one or more AGCO Board-approved conditions may be attached to a SOP by the Registrar to help the permit holder to minimize specific risks identified during the assessment process.