(Mar. 26/14) British Columbia has started to modernize its liquor laws. Earlier this month, the province introduced legislative changes to kick off the two-year phase-in of the 73 recommendations from the B.C. Liquor Review.

Changes for licensees
Initial changes allow 15 of those recommendations to take effect this year, and include the following:

  • licensees can offer time-limited drink specials (‘Happy Hour’) at or above a prescribed minimum price (to be negotiated);
  • licensees can store liquor in secure offsite locations, subject to notifying the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB);
  • individual establishments that are part of a larger company (i.e. chain outlets) can transfer small amounts of liquor between locations;
  • an enhanced Serving It Right (SIR) responsible beverage service program expands to all liquor servers due to elimination of the food ordering requirement in food primary licensed establishments; and
  • different penalties (i.e. suspension, monetary) will be reviewed, depending on size and focus of licensed establishments.

Restaurants Canada will let members know when these new rules apply.

Looking ahead to 2015
Government will completely rewrite the Liquor Control and Licensing Act in 2015 to implement the remaining recommendations. It will also explore a level wholesale pricing model that replaces the current, complex mix of liquor discounts offered to various retailers.

Give us your input

Restaurants Canada continues to push government to extend wholesale discounts to licensees. We are working with government on implementing liquor review recommendations and welcome members’ input, such as the minimum price for ‘Happy Hour’ specials. Contact Restaurants Canada’s Mark von Schellwitz at mark@restaurantscanada.org.

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