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New modern liquor laws come into effect in British Columbia

Staff Writer |
An updated Liquor Control and Licencing Act and regulation come into force January 23, that will create new opportunities for businesses and increase convenience for consumers.

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The Liquor Policy Review made 73 recommendations to update antiquated laws for British Columbians and reduce red tape. Several of the recommendations required new laws or regulations to be implemented.

The new act and regulation increase flexibility for businesses and spur economic growth by allowing:

- all types of businesses, like barbershops, salons, book stores and art galleries, to apply for a liquor licence, giving them opportunities to generate new revenue;

- businesses to apply for a Special Event Permit, formerly a Special Occasion Licence, to reduce red tape involved in organizing events and festivals;

- hotels and resorts that own a bar on the premises to offer guests a complimentary alcoholic beverage upon check-in and permit guests to carry their drinks from licenced areas directly to their rooms;

- restaurants and bars to create unique cocktails through liquor infusions and barrel-aging, keeping up with a strong ‘cocktail culture’ that has emerged in Europe, the United States and across Canada;

- applicants to receive more timely decisions on their licence applications due to local governments and the Province being able to review liquor licence applications at the same time;

- theatres to permit customers to consume liquor purchased on-site in both the lobby and licensed seating areas when minors are present, similar to arenas and stadiums;

- licensed facilities to use space for non-alcohol-related purposes while liquor is not being served;

- golf course patrons to take a drink from one service area to another;

- manufacturers to offer patrons liquor other than what is produced on-site and offer a guided tour of their establishment without having to apply for permission to do so;

- licensees to request that government reconsider an enforcement decision under certain circumstances to avoid a costly court hearing and choose between a monetary penalty or licence suspension for a first contravention.

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