Enforcement hearing

If you have been given a Notice of Enforcement Action and you choose not to sign a waiver, the next step is to attend an enforcement hearing.

On this page:

Enforcement hearing roles and responsibilities

There are several roles and responsibilities in an enforcement hearing.

You will be contacted by the registrar who gives you more information about the enforcement hearing. You can appear at the hearing by yourself, or choose a representative to act on your behalf. The representative doesn't have to be a lawyer. Find out more about representation.

The general manager has given authority to hearing delegates to adjudicate enforcement hearings. The hearing delegate

  • Considers the evidence and argument of the branch and the licensee
  • Decides whether the alleged contravention(s) occurred
  • Decides  what enforcement action, if any, to impose

The registrar

  • Conducts pre-hearing conferences
  • Schedules hearings
  • Makes decisions on procedural matters that are raised before the hearing

The registrar makes sure

  • Issues related to enforcement hearings are consistently managed to ensure procedural fairness
  • Licensees have ready access to information about the process, laws and policies

The branch advocate represents the branch at pre-hearing conferences and enforcement hearings. During the hearing, the branch advocate

  • Presents the branch’s evidence
  • Makes submissions

The branch may also be represented by legal counsel, such as a lawyer, who may present legal arguments.

Liquor and cannabis inspectors attend enforcement hearings as witnesses for the branch. They testify about

  • The alleged contravention(s),
  • The reasons for pursuing a particular enforcement action, and
  • Any prior compliance activity related to the licence or the licensee

 

Pre-hearing conference

Before the enforcement hearing, you must attend a pre-hearing conference. The registrar conducts the conference. It is between you and the branch advocate. A liquor and non-medical cannabis inspector might also attend.

The purpose of the meeting is to

  • Decide if an oral enforcement hearing is needed
  • Clarify and narrow the enforcement hearing concerns
  • Identify and discuss the evidence that will be presented at the enforcement hearing
    • Including witnesses
  • Set out the requirements for pre-hearing disclosure of evidence
  • Schedule the enforcement hearing
  • Set procedures to ensure a timely, fair and efficient hearing
  • Give you information about the enforcement hearing process

If you don’t attend the pre-hearing conference, you might lose the opportunity for an oral hearing. That means the general manager will base a decision on the written material only.

Hearing location

Hearings can be conducted by

  • An in-person oral hearing
  • Video conference
  • Written submissions
  • Any combination of these

The registrar determines the location of the hearing and the way it will be conducted. Penalty-only hearings generally occur by written submissions.

Hearing process and format

At the enforcement hearing, you may state that

  • The alleged contravention(s) did not occur
  • And/or the proposed enforcement action is not necessary

In general, the format for an oral or video conference hearing is:

Introductions

  • The hearing delegate makes introductory comments
  • You and the branch advocate introduce themselves
  • The hearing delegate deals with any preliminary matters

Evidence and questioning

  • The branch advocate presents the branch’s evidence of the contravention. This may include
    • Documents
    • Witnesses
    • An explanation of the branch’s reasons for the proposed enforcement action
  • You or your representative may question the branch’s witnesses
  • You may present evidence, including documents and witnesses
  • The branch advocate may question your witnesses

Summarizing and submissions

  • The branch advocate
    • Summarizes the branch’s case
    • Makes final submissions on the alleged contravention(s) and the proposed penalty
  • You may
    • Summarize your case
    • Make final submissions on the alleged contravention(s) and the proposed penalty
  • The hearing delegate may ask questions of the participants at any time during the hearing

Results of hearing

The hearing delegate considers both you and the branch’s evidence and argument, and issues a written decision after the hearing is complete.

Enforcement action

If the hearing delegate finds that a contravention occurred and that enforcement action is warranted, the hearing delegate may do one or more of the following:

The hearing delegate does not have to impose the penalty from the Notice of Enforcement Action. They may impose higher penalties or suspensions than those in the penalty or suspension schedule

  • When it is in the public interest to do so

Enforcement order

If enforcement action is warranted, you will be sent the enforcement order.

Once you have received the enforcement order, the branch posts the complete text of the decision on its website. Names of individuals and personal details such as where the licensee works, are removed to protect privacy and comply with the

Monetary penalty payment

You need to pay any penalty within 30 days, or within the time frame stated in your enforcement order letter.

  • The time frame for payment of a monetary penalty is not subject to reconsideration

Suspension details

If your licence is suspended, the suspension starts on the same business day as the initial contravention

  • For example, if the contravention happened on a Friday, the contravention starts on a Friday

If the contravention happened after midnight, it starts on the business day the work shift began.

The suspension has to be served on consecutive days.

Reconsideration

If you don’t agree with the results of the enforcement hearing, you can apply to the branch for reconsideration.

You have 30 days to apply for reconsideration

  • The 30 days starts from when you receive the enforcement order

Find out more about the reconsideration process, including how to apply.