Enforcement hearing rules

On this page:


1. Purpose

The purposes of these rules are to

  • Assist licensees and permittees in understanding the enforcement hearing process
  • Ensure a consistent approach in enforcement hearings
  • Ensure the timely, fair and efficient adjudication of alleged contraventions

2. Application

These Rules replace the previous Rules and apply to all cases from the date they are implemented.

3. Definitions

In these rules:

Act(s)

Branch and LCRB

  • The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB)

Branch advocate

  • The person appointed by the general manager of the LCRB to represent the LCRB at enforcement proceedings

Case management administrator or CMA

  • The case management administrator of the Branch

Contravention

  • An act or omission that is contrary to the provision(s) of the Act(s), their Regulations and/or a failure to comply with a licence term and condition:
    • Cannabis contravention
      • a contravention of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, Regulations and non-medical cannabis licence terms and conditions
    • Liquor contravention
      • a contravention of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, Regulations and liquor licence terms and conditions

Enforcement order

  • An order made imposing a penalty after a finding of either a liquor or non-medical cannabis contravention
    • Section 51 order
      • an enforcement order issued under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act
    • Compliance order
      • an enforcement order issued under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act

Expert report or expert evidence

  • Evidence expressing an opinion based on education, training or experience

Hearing delegate

  • The general manager of the Branch and any person to whom the general manager has delegated his or her powers, duties and functions under the Acts and Regulations for the purpose of conducting and adjudicating the enforcement hearings

Licensee

  • Licensee as defined in the Acts; in these Rules, also refers to a licensee's representative or a permittee

Permittee

Produce

  • The provision of a document or other evidence on which either the Branch or a licensee, third-party, or their representative(s) intends to rely at a hearing
  • These documents or evidence may be provided by mail, courier, fax transmission, or email and received at the addressee's address for delivery as required under the Acts or Regulations, or as directed by the hearing delegate or registrar

Registrar

  • The person to whom the general manager of the Branch has delegated his or her powers, duties and functions under the Act and Regulations for the purpose of administering pre- and post-hearing proceedings

Regulation(s)

Rules

  • These enforcement hearing rules

Waiver notice or waiver

  • A notice in form and content satisfactory to the general manager, by which the licensee expressly and irrevocably
    • Agrees that the licensee committed the contravention
    • Accepts the enforcement action proposed in the Notice of Enforcement Action ("NOEA")
    • Waives the opportunity to have an enforcement hearing on the matter
    • Agrees that the finding of contravention(s) and the penalty(ies) will form part of the compliance history of the licensee

4. Extension or reduction of time

At any time, the hearing delegate or registrar, as the case may be, may extend or reduce the time for an application or the performance of any obligation under the Rules as long as it does not alter any time limits set out in the Act or Regulations.

5. Representation

The licensee may be self-represented, represented by legal counsel or represented by any person who has written authority to act for the licensee throughout the enforcement process, including representation at the hearing.

6. Waiver

The licensee may sign a waiver at any time from receipt of the NOEA, up until the time the hearing is set to begin.

The licensee may waive the opportunity for an enforcement hearing for one or more of the contraventions alleged in the NOEA. The enforcement hearing process will continue for any contraventions that have not been waived.

7. Oral or written hearing

If the licensee does not sign a waiver, the registrar will set a date for an oral hearing or timelines for written submissions, as applicable. The registrar will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the licensee's scheduling requirements.

For an oral hearing, the Branch will send out a written notice of hearing, by mail or email.

8. Rescheduling before the hearing date

  1. The registrar may reschedule a hearing on his or her initiative, or in exceptional circumstances
  2. If either the Branch or the licensee seeks to reschedule the hearing, they must apply by letter or email, which must be received by the registrar at least 14 days before the hearing and must say why they are asking to have the hearing reschedules, keeping in mind that the registrar will only reschedule if there are exceptional circumstances
  3. If a hearing is rescheduled, the registrar may set any terms respecting further rescheduling, production of documents or reports, or other matters which may assist with the timely, fair and efficient conduct of the hearing
  4. The registrar may set any terms and conditions respecting scheduling, attendance at pre-hearing conferences, production of documents or reports, or other matters which may assist with the timely, fair and efficient conduct of the hearing

9. Pre-hearing disclosure

  1. The branch advocate and the licensee must exchange copies of anything they will submit as evidence at the hearing at least 14 days before the hearing, unless the registrar orders otherwise
  2. The branch advocate and the licensee must produce their witness list containing the names of their witnesses and roles or positions at least 14 days before the hearing date unless the registrar orders otherwise
  3. The branch advocate and the licensee must produce a copy of any expert report(s) that they intend to submit as evidence at the hearing, at least 21 days before the first day of the hearing, unless otherwise ordered by the registrar. If either the branch advocate or the licensee intends to call an expert witness without a report, they must produce a written statement of the opinion to be given, the facts upon which the opinion is based and the qualifications of the expert witness at least 21 days before the first day of the hearing, unless otherwise ordered by the registrar

10. Pre-hearing conference (PHC)

  1. The registrar may set guidelines or provide direction for the timely, fair and efficient conduct of a hearing, including convening a pre-hearing conference (PHC).
  2. The registrar may direct that a PHC be held in person, by telephone conference or by some other method and set directions relating to videoconference proceedings. 
  3. At a PHC, the registrar may:
    • Provide information to the licensee regarding the enforcement hearing process and the allegations
    • Assist in clarifying, identifying and narrowing the issues in dispute
    • Determine the enforcement hearing format, as set out in Rule 7
    • Discuss the evidence (including witnesses) that will be presented at the enforcement hearing
    • Set out the requirements for pre-hearing disclosure of evidence, including expert evidence and agreed statement of facts, if any, between the branch advocate and the licensee,
    • Require the branch advocate and the licensee to prepare and produce a list of witnesses and a written summary of a witness’ evidence
    • Discuss and set locations, date(s) and time for the enforcement hearing, and in doing so may consider witness' availability,
    • Issue summons for witnesses, if required
    • Set deadlines and directions in case of penalty-only written submissions
    • Determine if the licensee or witnesses requires any services to attend the hearing, such as, for example, access for persons with disabilities, interpretive services or services for the deaf
    • Impose time limitations and terms and conditions on the production of documents, expert reports, agreed statement of facts, written submissions or any other processes necessary for the fair and efficient management of the hearing
    • Set out procedures to ensure a timely, fair and efficient hearing
  4. By letter sent by mail, email or fax, the registrar will report the results of the PHC to the branch advocate and the licensee, including a summary of the issues and any orders or directions from the registrar made during the PHC.

11. Hearing procedures

  1. This Rule applies to oral hearings, whether held in person or by videoconference. Hearings relating only to penalty generally proceed by way of written submissions
  2. Unless authorized by the registrar, no hearing participant shall forward or share the invitation or hyperlink sent to them for the hearing by videoconference. All participants must comply with the directions relating to video conference proceedings provided by the registrar prior to the hearing or as set by the hearing delegate at the hearing
  3. If the licensee does not attend the hearing, the hearing delegate may proceed or adjourn the hearing to a later date.
  4. The Branch does not record enforcement hearings
  5. The hearing delegate may establish their own practices and procedures for the conduct of the hearing and may
    • Determine the procedures for the hearing
    • Make determinations regarding the admissibility of evidence
    • Require the production of evidence
    • Proceed in the absence of the licensee or witness or in the absence of any submissions from the licensee when the licensee has had notice of the proceeding
    • Ask questions to clarify issues or facts
    • Place time limitations on the examination or cross-examination of witnesses or presentation of opening or closing submissions
    • Require presentation of written statements
    • Adjourn a hearing

12. Adjournments

  1. Once the hearing has commenced, the hearing delegate may adjourn a hearing on his or her own initiative or at the request of the branch advocate or the licensee
  2. In case of technical difficulties occurring during a hearing by videoconference, the hearing delegate may adjourn the hearing where appropriate and practical
  3. The hearing delegate will only grant an application for adjournment of a hearing if exceptional circumstances justify the adjournment
  4. In determining whether to grant an adjournment the hearing delegate may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors
    • The reasons for the request and any objections by the branch advocate or the licensee to the adjournment
    • The number of reschedules hearings and adjournments that have already been granted
    • Whether the adjournment will needlessly delay or impede the conduct of the hearing
    • Whether the purpose for which adjournment is sought will contribute to the resolution of the matter
    • Whether the adjournment is required to ensure a fair opportunity to be heard
    • The degree to which the need for the adjournment arises out of intentional actions or the neglect of the applicant
    • Matters of public health and safety