(October 26/18) Nova Scotians under the age of 19 years can now face a fine of $150 for presenting false identification at a liquor licensed establishment or being on licensed premises where they are not permitted.

After a decade of lobbying from Restaurants Canada, the Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division of Service Nova Scotia made these changes to the offence provisions of the province’s Liquor Control Act to align with those under the new provincial Cannabis Control Act.

Restaurants Canada advocated for these reforms so that licensed operators would have a way to deter youth from using false identification to enter their establishments or to order liquor — this can cost establishments their liquor license, although typically they receive fines for these kinds of violations, while underage patrons used to walk away without any consequences.

Now that youth will have to share some of the burden with licensed establishments if they enter them illegally or use false identification to purchase liquor, they might be more discouraged from doing so.

Here is the full list of amendments recently made to Nova Scotia’s Liquor Control Act:

• except as authorized by the Liquor Control Act or the regulations, no liquor shall be given or consumed by any person under the age of nineteen years, and every person who violates this is guilty of an offence and subject to a fine of $150 (Section 78(3A), Section 78(5));

• keeping liquor for sale will now be a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars (Liquor Control Act, Section 78(1), Section 78(3B));

• knowingly selling or supplying liquor to person under 19 years of age will now be a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars (Liquor Control Act, Section 89(2));

• underage procurement of liquor will now be a fine of not more than one hundred and fifty dollars (Liquor Control Act, Section 89(2A);

• a person under 19 years of age in licensed premises where prohibited will now be subject to a fine of not more than one hundred and fifty dollars for the underaged person (Liquor Control Act, Section 89(3), (3A));

• purchasing liquor from an unauthorized seller will now be a fine of not more than two hundred and fifty dollars (Liquor Control Act, Section 101);

• presenting false proof of age will now be subject to a fine of not more than one hundred and fifty dollars (Liquor Control Act, Section 102);

• Section 104 of the Act is repealed. It provided for a 1-3-month imprisonment for violating ss 89(2) – sale or supply of liquor to a minor. That offence is now subject to a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, as noted above.

• Nova Scotia will be establishing out of court settlements for the liquor control offences to align them with cannabis. The out of court settlements will be subject to a victim fine surcharge as well as court administration fees.

Related: The Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division of Service Nova Scotia is continuing to work with the federal government on its plan for the framework that will govern cannabis edibles, anticipated to become part of the legalized recreational market in October 2019. Restaurants Canada will continue to provide updates on policy, legislative and regulatory developments as they unfold.

Click here to visit Nova Scotia’s “Be In The Know” website, for all the latest cannabis related information and resources from the provincial government in one place, including an overview of key laws and regulations.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can send an email to Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada, at lerjavec@restaurantscanada.org.

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