Category: Other

Exciting New Design Service Offered by Rising Tide Consultants

Rising Tide Consultants is pleased to announce that we offer design services to support our valued clients! By providing professionally drafted floor plans in AutoCad or Sketchup, you no longer need to engage an outside designer or pay your architect to do your floor plan drawings. This allows you to save time and money by streamlining the design process in presenting your drawings for your architect’s approval and facilitating a smooth submission to the city.

Rising Tide’s very own Meagan Morris completed the Residential Interiors program (DDA) at the University of Alberta and has extensive experience designing for residential and commercial projects across North America.

We are currently working on multiple projects for premiere Downtown Vancouver hotel locations. Get in touch to see how we can assist with your design needs.

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Let’s Keep Vancouver Safe!

We all love to cheer on our Canucks during the playoffs, but we are urging our clients to remember to create a safe and compliant environment for their patrons this season.

Responsible alcohol service is essential in keeping our city safe for these upcoming celebrations, so please be vigilant in enforcing your liquor service policies and ensure that proper ID practices are always adhered to.

Remember if you are caught serving alcohol to a minor you will be fined $7,000 on the spot! Over-service is a key factor in situations escalating to a point no one wants to see, so watch your guest’s consumption closely.

Alcohol products purchased to-go must be accompanied by a meal, and by this we mean not just a bag of chips. Want to know what constitutes a “meal” in this instance? Give us a call

Both the VPD and inspectors from the LCRB will be out in full force during the games so be sure to have the following items up to date and ready to show if they pay you a visit:

  • Serving it Right certificates for all serving staff
  • Your liquor & business license posted correctly
  • Current floor plan
  • Liquor register
  • Alcohol Sense Materials
  • Policy & Procedures Manuals that outline responsible liquor service

Missing some items? Have questions about getting this all organized in time? We are here to help!

Let’s all work cooperatively with our enforcement teams that are working hard to protect the citizens of Vancouver and prioritize mindful service and safety practices so that we can have a fun, successful Stanley Cup playoff season!

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Marijuana Researcher, Female scientist in a hemp field checking plants and flowers, alternative herbal medicine concept.

Minors as Agents Program (MAP) Costing Cannabis Stores Thousands of Dollars in Fines!

The Government Minors as Agents Program is targeting Cannabis Stores and if you are caught in non-compliance, it will cost you thousands of dollars!


The team at Rising Tide Consultants travels across the province to audit the existing policies and procedures of cannabis stores to ensure they have the best defence of due diligence in cases of compliance or enforcement issues. We then provide a comprehensive report detailing any inefficiencies found during the onsite visit and suggestions to resolve any potential issues.


We also offer presentations to cannabis store staff on how the MAP works. This ensures they know what to expect and look for in the “setup” of the trap and forewarning and how to set the team up for success if they are targeted.


The Branch is sending minors into cannabis establishments to see if they can catch staff members selling cannabis to a minor. If the minor is caught just on the premises, even without a transaction, the fine could be $3,000 to $7,000.This can be compounded if the minor is successful in purchasing cannabis without being asked for ID, with an additional penalty of $7,000 to $11,000. If the business is caught in non-compliance again, it could result in a potential 11-day suspension of their license or a $7,000 to $11,000 fine for having a minor on the premises and a $11,000 to $15,000 fine for a minor purchasing cannabis. There are even higher penalties for a 3rd offence!

Rising Tide Consultants can provide you with informative resources to help you stay one step ahead of the Branch.


Reach out to us if you would like our help to avoid the harsh penalties of the Minors as Agents Program. 

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‘SAVE BC RESTAURANTS’ IS ACKNOWLEDGED BY GOVERNMENT 

The Honourable Brenda Bailey – Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, speaks on the SAVE BC RESTAURANTS campaign:

“The first thing I want to say about the restaurant sector and their save B.C. restaurants campaign is: “Well done.” I think it was one of the most inventive campaigns that I’ve seen. The communications were very strong. I congratulate the restaurant sector for really quite a well-designed and engaging campaign.

“Another request that the restaurant sector put in front of us was they had the experience that they had to go to a number of different ministers and lobby each individually on particular challenges that they were experiencing. They identified that it would be much better for them should they just have one contact. And so that’s something that we have put in place. That contact is Minister Popham. “

“The Solicitor General, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture and myself will be working together on challenges that the restaurants faced, but it is the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture who is the number one contact. Then the information will share out that way.”

“But I do just want to really highlight that in addition to the many supports we put in place throughout the pandemic and since the number one request, the most important thing — and the restaurant sector really drove this home — was to change the EHT. I’m so grateful that we were able to do that for them.

The EHT (Employer Health Tax) payroll threshold will be moved from 1/2 million to 1 million which will exempt a lot of small businesses from having to pay this tax. A very positive win for Industry!

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Save BC Restaurants!

This is a Crisis.

The Restaurant Industry is facing countless challenges and the BCRFA and Restaurants Canada have come together to show the Government that when you stack challenge after challenge, cost increase after cost increase, over debilitating debt from loans, the picture is a serious one and not easy to read.

“The Menu” below is being introduced to Government bodies, the press and the public on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, with the hopes that seeing everything that Restaurants face in one intense document will help people understand the severity of what Restaurants are going through.

It is our hope that “The Menu” will show the truth of the crushing impacts of what Restaurants deal with on a daily basis and encourage real support and understanding from our Government so that change will be imminent. 

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Revolutionary POS System can Prevent a $7,000 fine from the Minors as Agents Program.

The team at Rising Tide Consultants has been researching avenues to help industry in the defence against the Government’s Minors as Agents program.

The Minors as Agents program is funded and regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, whereby “youthful-appearing adults” are recruited to attempt to purchase liquor on the Branch’s behalf. The issue is the agents can often appear older, and if a judgment call is made to not ask for ID, the business can be in some very hot water.

One of the key resources Rising Tide has discovered is a revolutionary POS and Payment Processing System all in one convenient hand held device. Endorsed by Forbes as the #1 restaurant POS system with over 93,000 restaurant locations around the world, Toast is now available in Canada.

The functionalities are 100% geared towards hospitality venues with one very important one that will aid in prevention of a $7,000 fine and possible subsequent 21 day suspension of your liquor license, which are the penalties if you are caught in non-compliance with the Minors as Agents program.

You can customize the POS to default to an initial screen reminding the service staff to check for valid ID that requires acknowledgment before they are allowed to proceed to processing any order. This should not only prevent the service of alcohol to minors, but if an infraction does occur, then you have a strong defence of due diligence.


There is also an SOS functionality that the service staff can press a button that immediately communicates a distress message to your desired printer location in the event of an intoxicated, belligerent or difficult customer interaction. This is mapped to the table directly and is invisible to the customer.

For more information on Toast and deeper insight on how you can guard your business against the MAP, contact us directly.

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Happy Holidays from Rising Tide Consultants

We wish to thank you for choosing us as your licensing expert and consulting partner. It has been our pleasure to support the retail and hospitality industries for the past 35 years and we look forward to being here for all of your future needs.

Happy Holidays from the Rising Tide Team!

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Impactful Wins at Vancouver City Council

Vancouver City Council met Wednesday, Dec 13, 2023 on some very important issues for Industry.

We are proud to be a member of the Hospitality Task Force with key industry partners, including the BCRFA, ABLE BC, Restaurants Canada, The Craft Brewer’s Guild and the BCHA that has been advocating to the city on the following key issues. We are pleased to report some impactful wins! Vancouver is no longer “No Fun City.”

The existing licensing moratoriums for Granville Street, Chinatown and Gastown have been eliminated so those areas of Vancouver are now open for new business licenses or expansion of existing licensed establishments.

“With respect to the moratorium on Granville Street, my view is moratoriums just prop up the dinosaurs, it does not allow for creativity, innovation, and a new opportunity to breathe life in. You’re just propping up the cheap bars, with cheap drinks, and you end up with drunks. I think you need to have that creativity and innovation to allow us to compete with other cities.” ~Bert Hick, Founder and President Rising Tide Consultants

The distancing requirements of licensed establishments has also been eliminated, clearing the way for more licensed establishments of similar size.

The licensing of retail business with liquor primary licenses, such as Spas, Beauty Salons and Retail Stores has now been approved. This will allow for these types of businesses to serve alcohol to their patrons along with their regular retail business.

These are very positive outcomes and we are proud to have been an integral part of bringing these changes to the City of Vancouver. We promise to continue our mission to streamline processes, slash red tape and eliminate antiquated policies for the benefit of our tourism and hospitality industries.

Read the City News article HERE

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Magnifying glass and annual number 2023 with REVIEW word

2023 in Review: A Year of Wins for Rising Tide Consultants

As we bid farewell to 2023, Rising Tide Consultants takes a moment to celebrate a remarkable journey marked by milestones, industry recognitions, and successful collaborations. Join us as we delve into the highlights that made 2023 a year to remember.

Celebrating 35 Years of Excellence

Rising Tide Consultants proudly reached a significant milestone – 35 years in business! Over the last 3 and a half decades, our firm has demonstrated unwavering commitment and expertise in the liquor and hospitality sector.

As recognition, our founder and President Bert Hick was recently honored with an induction into the BCRFA Hall of Fame as the “Friend of Industry”. We couldn’t be more proud of Bert, and all of his contributions to this industry over the years.

Strengthening Our Team

A pivotal addition to Rising Tide Consultants in 2023 was Dugald Smith, former Deputy General Manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Joining as a Senior Licensing Consultant, Dulgald Smith brings invaluable experience to the team, ensuring continued success in navigating the complex regulatory landscape in Canada.

Advocacy and Collaboration

Rising Tide spearheaded the Liquor Hospitality Task Force, collaborating with Industry Associations. This collaborative effort with the Vancouver City Council resulted in significant strides towards simplifying processes and implementing policy changes, fostering an environment where businesses can thrive, innovate, and grow. The commitment to further progress remains at the forefront of Rising Tide’s mission.

Continuing to engage with industry associations at both provincial and local government levels, Rising Tide has been actively educating licensees on the Minors as Agents’ Program, ensuring compliance and a steadfast defense of diligence.

Advocating for Change

Rising Tide has actively advocated for amendments to regulations, urging the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to permit liquor stores to temporarily relocate during development. This proactive approach demonstrates Rising Tide’s dedication to addressing industry challenges and facilitating smooth transitions.

Client Wins in 2023

The year 2023 saw numerous client victories for Rising Tide Consultants, showcasing the breadth of expertise and dedication to securing licensing approvals:

The Cineplex entertainment experience “Rec Room” secured licensing approval, set to debut in Vancouver in Fall 2024.

Rogers Arena received approval for a new bar concept, enhancing the fan experience between the visiting team and the Canucks dressing rooms.

TopTable Group’s fine dining restaurant Marilena claimed the #3 spot in Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2023.

The iconic Fountainhead Pub successfully expanded, increasing interior and patio capacities and transitioning to a class 3 liquor license.

Dahlia restaurant and its rooftop patio in the new Azur Hotel, the Gordon Ramsay Burger in the Hard Rock Casino Coquitlam, and the Massey Theatre in New Westminster all received licensing approvals, showcasing the diversity of Rising Tide’s portfolio.

Community Engagement

Rising Tide Consultants actively participated in and sponsored impactful industry events throughout 2023, including the BCHA Summit, SPARK Conference, Fortify Conference, and NGCOA.

As we look back on 2023, Rising Tide Consultants expresses gratitude for the trust and collaboration of clients, partners, and the industry at large. With a steadfast commitment to excellence, innovation, and community support, Rising Tide looks forward to a promising future in the evolving landscape of liquor and hospitality regulations. Cheers to a successful 2023, and here’s to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in 2024!

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Dugald Smith, former Deputy General Manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, joins Rising Tide Consultants as Senior Licensing Consultant.

Dugald Smith, former Deputy General Manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, joins Rising Tide Consultants as Senior Licensing Consultant.

“In my career as a regulator, finding opportunities to support the industry and small businesses has always been the best part of the job. I look forward to working with Bert Hick and his team in helping licensees and applicants to navigate the regulatory environment and find solutions to their business challenges.” – Dugald Smith

Dugald joins Rising Tide from the Provincial Government having spent the latter part of his career with the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). His formal education includes a Bachelor of Science and a Certificate in Business and Management.

Before joining the LCRB, Dugald worked as an Executive Director with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, where he played a key role in negotiating various agreements with First Nations, including the Maa nutlh and T’lamin treaties. 

With the LCRB over the past six years, Dugald has held several leadership roles, including Deputy General Manager of Licensing and Executive Director responsible for Programs and Strategy. He also was the Project Director on the development of the Cannabis Retail Store licensing framework, leading the implementation of the regulatory, policy and operational programs.

Dugald has significant senior experience in liquor policy and licensing operations at an executive level and brings unique insights into the legal cannabis industry, regulatory challenges and opportunities this industry faces. 

“I am honoured and thrilled that Dugald Smith has joined the Rising Tide team and we are very much looking forward to working with him for years to come.

When I first met Dugald years ago, it was in a meeting with the Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch officials. We had an instant likeness and respect for each other. Over the years when Dugald was the Acting General Manager of the Branch, we would agree on some applications and policy issues and at times, it was a compromise. On a few issues, it was a case of “agree to disagree.” He was the regulator and I was the consultant pushing the boundaries. However, we always respected our different perspectives and regulatory limitations.

Dugald brings to Rising Tide a wealth of experience and knowledge which will becombined with my 35 years of consulting experience and previous experience as the General Manager of the Liquor Branch to further serve our clients and expand our horizons.

I look forward to introducing Dugald as he transitions to the private sector and thewonderful world of licensing from our side of the street!” Bert Hick -President & Founder, Rising Tide Consultants
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