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Regulatory Amendments Affecting the Sale and Service Of Liquor In Ontario

The Government of Ontario has made several amendments to regulations under the Liquor Licence Act, which governs the sale and service of liquor in Ontario. The majority of these amendments are to Regulation 719 (Licences to Sell Liquor) and Regulation 389/91 (Special Occasion Permits). These changes have been made following extensive consultation with a wide range of liquor industry stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, public health organizations and other interested parties and are intended to:

  • Remove some previous barriers and restrictions for liquor sales licensees, special events and festivals
  • Provide flexibility to businesses
  • Improve tourism and local economies
  • Strengthen Ontario’s economy and create new opportunities for jobs
  • Expand enforcement options against licensees who violate Ontario’s liquor laws

The changes are complemented by compliance provisions that ensure that alcohol continues to be sold and served responsibly. These include the ability of the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming (Registrar) to add conditions to a Special Occasion Permit (SOP) to mitigate identified risks to public safety and the public interest, and to assess Orders of Monetary Penalty to SOP holders.

These regulatory changes will be introduced in three phases. The changes coming into effect on June 1, 2011 and August 2, 2011 are summarized below. The government is also reviewing many other options to further streamline and simplify the SOP program, and these changes will be introduced in July 2012.

Special Occasion Permits


Regulatory amendments under the Liquor Licence Act, effective June 1, 2011:

Regulatory amendment under the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996 (AGRPPA) effective June 1, 2011:

Regulatory amendments under the Liquor Licence Act effective August 2, 2011: