If you have a Vancouver liquor license or you are considering applying for a liquor license for your Vancouver business, it’s imperative that you know your responsibilities as a licensee, and, take action to safeguard your investment. Infractions can be costly, disrupt business, and, if your business largely depends on liquor sales, can lead to business closure.

Consider the cost of serving a minor — a concern to all licensees. One infraction could cost up to $7500 or a 10-day license suspension. Serving an intoxicated patron is another serious infraction with possibly grave consequences for both the patron, the public, and the licensee. Liquor over-service can result in fines, suspensions, and even revocation of your liquor license. You could also face civil action for failing to meet your “duty of care” responsibility. In a landmark case in 1999, Laface v. McWilliams, a hotel allowed a patron to leave the hotel pub and drive while intoxicated. The patron struck 5 pedestrians, causing serious, and in some cases permanent, injuries. The Supreme Court of BC found the hotel 50% liable for the injuries. This case remains the largest assignment of blame against a liquor licensee for failing to perform their duty of care.

In addition to the aforementioned infractions, which tend to be the most serious, there are numerous other ways in which you or staff could unwittingly put your Vancouver liquor license at risk. These include:

  • Exceeding patron capacity limits.
  • Failing to prevent disturbances.
  • Allowing alcohol consumption outside designated liquor service areas.
  • Changing the layout of your establishment.
  • Changing alcohol storage areas.
  • Making any change that alters the original information you provided as part of your liquor license application.

Because of the numerous regulations that must be met, many licensees take advantage of the policies and procedures manual and training services provided by Rising Tide Consultants, leading Vancouver liquor licensing consultants.

A Policies and Procedures Manual is Your Safety Net

Your responsibilities begin once you’ve been approved for a liquor license in Vancouver. Licensees cannot afford complacency, and, ignorance of responsibilities is not a defence. Compliance efforts should be an ongoing and part of the daily routine of licensees, managers and staff. The best way to safeguard your license is through written policies and procedures and ongoing compliance training to ensure they are followed consistently.

A strong policies and procedures manual:

  • Is customized to meet the specific needs of your business.
  • Clarifies licensee and staff responsibilities in detail.
  • Provides step-by-step compliance procedures to be followed by the licensee and staff members.
  • Is easy to understand and follow.
  • Forms the basis of ongoing training.
  • Is followed daily.
  • Is reviewed frequently.

Staff should be educated and trained so that complying with liquor license policies becomes second nature. This can only be accomplished through ongoing training and if licensees emphasize strict adherence to procedures outlined in their manual. A manual is safety net- but only if you actually use it!

Need a Policies & Procedures Manual to Safeguard Your Vancouver Liquor License?

Let Rising Tide Consultant’s professional liquor license specialists draft a policies and procedures manual that helps protect your liquor license and business investment. Our consultants have experience writing manuals for all types of liquor licensees including: liquor stores, pubs, restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and others. Contact us for a consultation.

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