The government is taking further action to protect children by ensuring people caught supplying minors with alcohol face appropriate penalties, announced Minister Rich Coleman.
Police and liquor inspectors now have the ability to issue $575-tickets to people found giving or serving liquor to anyone under the age of 19. This covers 'bootlegging', where adults purchase alcohol for minors. For the first time, it also includes servers at restaurants or bars who fail to ensure their customers are adults by checking for appropriate identification.
Licensees who operate businesses where liquor is being served are already accountable, and penalties for minors being served in their establishments range from $7,500-$10,000 or a 10-15 day suspension.
The tickets streamline penalties for serving liquor to minors. Currently, police hand out court appearance notices for violations. These policing and court resources can now be redirected to other priorities. People receiving tickets may still dispute them in court, but if not disputed, the tickets are valid and payable.
Other unrelated administrative changes also announced today include:
- Licensees who fail to renew their liquor licence within 30 days can now apply to have their licence reinstated, rather than applying for a new licence.
- The Province will have the authority to effectively enforce agreements with liquor manufacturers who fail to submit sales records and the monies owed to the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) for those sales.
Minister Rich Coleman -
"These changes give police and liquor inspectors another tool to make it harder for minors to get alcohol. Bootleggers and servers who don't ask for appropriate identification will be accountable for their actions through $575-tickets - a sizeable amount that our government hopes will deter adults from giving or serving liquor to youth."
Ian Tostenson, president & CEO, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association -
"The BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association supports the provincial government's leadership to ensure proper and responsible alcohol service throughout B.C.'s restaurant industry."
- Violation tickets can be issued to anyone found providing liquor to minors unless it is their parent or guardian. This includes a server who sells liquor to an underage customer.
- A sign stating staff can be fined for selling alcohol to minors has been developed to make it easier for servers by giving them something they can point to when dealing with customers who may be underage.
- This reinforces our government's commitment to reducing access to alcohol by minors.
- In British Columbia, servers are required to check for proper identification prior to serving alcohol, and may be issued a ticket if they neglect to comply with this requirement. The licensee remains legally accountable for that sale.
Liquor licence renewal:
- Previously, if a licensee had not renewed their licence within 30 days of it expiring, the Province had no legal option but to cancel the licence.
- Licensees who have not renewed their licence on time can now avoid having to go through the process of applying for a new licence, provided they apply within a limited time, and pay a $750 late renewal fee while meeting eligibility criteria.
- This change does not alter the rules around liquor service for an establishment - they must still have a licence to serve alcohol.
Failure to submit sales records to the Liquor Distribution Branch:
- Agreements exist that require manufacturers to submit sales records as well as money owed to the Liquor Distribution Branch for those sales.
- Fines of up to $25,000 can be issued to manufacturers for violating their sales agreement with the Liquor Distribution Branch.
- Previously, the Province did not have the authority to enforce these rules.
These changes build on the commitment to modernize B.C.'s liquor laws made by Premier Christy Clark.
Ministry of Energy and Mines