Last fall we released Raise the Bar, the first-ever report card on liquor policies, and provinces across the country took notice. Here’s an update on how three Atlantic Canada provinces have responded and are making it easier for you to serve your customers.

Newfoundland and Labrador

After receiving an ‘F’ on the Raise the Bar report card, the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation asked Restaurants Canada to recommend improvements. Although the licensee working group has just started to meet, we have already made progress with:

  • Two weeks notice before price increases
  • Quarterly licensee newsletter
  • Information on new listings, including electronic ordering and payment
  • A change in inspection policy so random inspections during peak hours will focus on service to minors, safety, and over-service rather than on administrative issues.

The PEI Liquor Control Commission has responded to some of our concerns, including:

  • Changes to dining room licenses, so you may now provide limited background entertainment
  • The license fee for alcohol offsales from restaurants reduced to $50
  • Mandatory Responsible Beverage Server program to be updated to reflect modern business practices

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has made two important changes to liquor policy:

  • Streamlined capacity requirements for lounge operators. Previously you received maximum occupancy levels from both the Alcohol and Gaming Authority and the Office of the Fire Marshall. If the numbers were different, you had to use the lower capacity. Under the new rules only the fire marshall will determine maximum occupancy levels.
  • Timing of conversion from restaurant to lounge. The government has added flexibility to the time when a restaurant (minors and foodservice required) can be converted to a lounge (minors prohibited and no food required).

Restaurants Canada members: Questions about beverage alcohol policies? Contact Luc Erjavec at (902) 425-0061 or

Not a member? Join online now, or call our membership team at 1-800-387-5649.

We’re stronger together!


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