Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch Policy Directives

The Branch issues policy directives to announce changes to its policies.

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2019 Policy Directives

19-12 - Announces a change in policy regarding what product information cannabis retail store licensees are able to post on a website.

19-11 - Clarifies the restrictions on cannabis promotion in liquor-licensed establishments and at a events held under a special event permit. 

19-10 - Announces a correction to Policy Directive 18-06 (variety-of-liquor requirement for large public special event permits (SEP))

19-09 - Announces updated social responsibility materials for liquor licensees that must be displayed in a prominent location. 

19-08 - Removes the regulations requiring only B.C. wine to be sold on grocery store shelves.

19-07 - Announces the requirement for non-medical cannabis stores to display social responsibility materials.

19-06 - Announces and clarifies policies regarding non-medical cannabis samples, smell jars and storing open packages of cannabis. 

19-05 - Announces miscellaneous policy changes and clarifications related to non-medical cannabis retail stores including licensee's duty to report, intruder and fire alarms, ID requirements, and shopping bags. 

19-04 - Announces an increase in the threshold of when a contravention is considered a first contravention. A licensee may be permitted to choose one of either a monetary penalty or licence suspension if it is the first contravention in a 24-month period.

19-03 - Clarifies the delivery service and online advertising requirements for licensee retail stores, wine stores and manufacturers with onsite stores.

19-02 - Announces changes to the Licence Suspension and Monetary Penalty Schedule for liquor licensees and an increase in the period of time for when a contravention is considered a second contravention. 

19-01 - Announces new polices for qualifying charitable and industry-only tasting events regarding donated liquor and the removal of any unused liquor.

2018 Policy Directives

18-08 - Announces additional circumstances for the general manager to grant an extended dormancy status to licensees.

18-07 - Clarifies the policies regarding dormancy status. 

18-06Variety of liquor requirement for Special Event Permits. This policy change will come into effect February 1, 2019.

18-05 - Announces policies for Special Event Permits (SEP) held in tastings areas of manufacturer establishments.

18-04 - Announces changes for value-added promotional items for private retailers.

18-03 - Clarifies minor omissions and inconsistencies that have surfaced since the new Liquor Control and Licensing Act was passed in 2015. The amendments include clarification on employing minors, the due diligence defence for minors, the disclosure of information or records, and the acceptance of alternative ownership arrangements for licensees. 

18-02 - Announces updated social responsibility materials that must be displayed in a prominent location within all establishments. These updated materials include daily and weekly limits under Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.

18-01 - Announces a new policy that allows special event permit holders to apply for an exemption from donating event profits to charity.

2017 Policy Directives

17-05 - Announces changes to the distance requirement for liquor primary off-premises sales endorsements; relocation application procedures for licensee retail stores; manufacturer sampling during guided tours; and reporting requirements for fraternal societies and veterans clubs.

17-04 - Announces changes regarding charitable auction frequency and manufacturer on-site sampling.

17-03 - Announces changes regarding low-risk catering authorizations, all-inclusive pricing at tasting events and signage requirements.

17-02 - Announces changes regarding special events at liquor primary clubs, new signing authority for branch forms, new reporting requirement for societies and public corporations and new manufacturer location criteria.

17-01 - Updated Alcohol Sense materials.

2016 Policy Directives

16-19Compliance and Enforcement policy changes. These policy changes will come into effect on January 23, 2017.

16-18Special Event Permit policy changes.  These policy changes will come into effect on January 23, 2017.

16-17 Manufacturer and Agent policy changes.These policy changes will come into effect on January 23, 2017.

16-16Liquor primary policy changes.  These policy changes will come into effect on January 23, 2017.

16-15 Food primary policy changes.  These policy changes will come into effect on January 23, 2017.

16-14General policy changes.  These policy changes will come into effect on January 23, 2017.

16-13LRSs, wine stores and manufacturer on-site stores may sell and deliver their products on a website that clearly identifies their store and licence number. LRSs and wine stores may accept special orders and deliver them from their store.

16-12 -  Amends lease and zoning requirements for Licensee Retail Store relocations.

16-11 -  Permits food primary and liquor primary applicants to have no interior licensed area for patrons.

16-10 -  Licensee retail stores and wine stores can now sell samples and can now host two manufacturers or agents conducting sampling at any one time.  Samples can now total ½ a standard drink size per customer per day.

16-09 -  Clarification regarding identification requirements, minimum price for off-premise sales, and use of handcuffs.

16-08 -  A reminder to industry of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act prohibition on inducements.

16-07 -  Permits hobby brewers and vintners to obtain an SOL to hold a competition to showcase and judge beer, wine and cider that they have made.

16-06 -  Permits liquor to be delivered to hotel guests by room service 24 hours a day.

16-05 -  Limits Independent Wine Store relocations into grocery stores to the "store within a store" model where all types of wine may be sold. These wine stores have only until August 19, 2016, to relocate to grocery stores to sell 100% BC wine on grocery store shelves.

16-04 -  Imposes new minimum liquor retail prices for Licensee Retail Stores, Wine Stores and Manufacturer On-site Stores.  These prices will come into effect May 1, 2016.

16-03 -  Permits BC VQA stores to sell 100% BC wine, subject to approval by the BC Wine Institute.

16-02 -  Creates the new special wine store licence for the sale of 100% B.C. wine from grocery store shelves and establishes auctions to determine eligibility for grocery stores to apply for this licence.

16-01 -  All B.C. licensed agents and their sales staff must have a Serving It Right certificate. Non-Canadian representatives of foreign liquor manufacturers who serve liquor in B.C. are exempt from this mandatory liquor service training requirement.

2015 Policy Directives

15-13 -  Permits Food Primary establishments with a patron-participation entertainment endorsement to allow patrons to dance until 1 a.m. on January 1st, provided this is not prohibited by local bylaws.

15-12 -  Repeals the lounge endorsement and relaxes several other restrictions for Food Primary Licences

15-11 - Permits manufacturers to sell at artisan and annual holiday markets

15-10 -  Permits liquor suppliers to provide liquor stores and wine stores with brand identified refrigerators.

15-09 -  Announces new tool for special occasion licensed (SOL) events to evaluate public safety risks.

15-08 -  Announces a temporary policy change to permit establishments flexibility in hosting televised games of the Rugby World Cup outside of normal liquor service hours.

15-07 -  Announces the limited sale of all types of liquor in manufacturer lounges and special event areas.

15-06 -  Effective immediately, the General Manager of LDB may place advertisements respecting government liquor stores.

15-05 -  Announces the opportunity to convert an Independent Wine Store (IWS licence) into a Licensee Retail Store (LRS licence).

15-04 -  New regulations regarding the length of time to keep records.

15-03 -  Mandatory display of social responsibility materials in licensed establishments.

15-02 -  Announces changes to the Special Occasion Licence program.

15-01 -  Announces changes that will allow liquor in grocery stores as well as changes to the 5 km rule for liquor retail relocations.

2014 Policy Directives

14-21Announces changes for liquor service at farmers markets held in event-oriented Liquor Primary establishments (e.g. arenas, stadiums, conference centres)

14-20Announces changes to the Serving It Right program that will be effective on September 15, 2015.

14-19Change to the alternative use policy that requires all Liquor Primary licenced establishments clear all patrons from the establishment ½ hour prior to licensed hours.

14-18Liquor primary licensees and manufacturers with a lounge endorsement are allowed an unlimited number of all-ages liquor-free events, requiring a temporary change of terms and conditions. There will be a notification process but no application or approval process.

14-17Implements Recommendation 69 by allowing UBrew/UVin members to change their names to Ferment-on-Premises to be consistent with federal legislation. Establishments can continue to call themselves UBrews and UVins if they choose.

14-16Licensees who operate ski hills or golf courses may apply for an endorsement to extend their licensed activities to outdoor areas on their property up to 26 times a year.

14-15 - Amends the minimum pricing announced on June 20th, 2014.  Note: This policy directive replaces Policy Directive 14-07.

14-14 Harmonizes Temporary Licence Extensions (TLE) policy with new policy regarding SOLs to allow whole-site TLEs except where it is in the public interest to impose beverage gardens. This directive also outlines the service and sale of spirits, and restricts shooters from service or consumption in the TLE area.

14-13Announces changes in regulation permitting minors in Liquor Primary and Liquor Primary Club establishments for the purposes of family dining.

14-12 Announces changes that allow Wine Stores and Licensee Retail Stores to sell their products for off-site consumption at tasting-focused food and beverage festivals.

14-11Announces changes that allow licensed manufacturers to sell their products at farmer’s markets.

14-10Announces changes to allow patrons to carry liquor between adjoining licensed establishments if both have the same licensee.

14-09Announces changes that allow certain establishments to transfer small amounts of liquor between locations.

14-08Announces changes to allow hosts of a family SOL to serve UBrew/UVin (Ferment-on-Premises) products and permits owners and family members of UBrews/UVins to own other liquor establishments.

14-06Announces changes to the ethyl alcohol (formerly ‘pure grain alcohol’) permit program that reduce the number of people who are required to obtain a permit to purchase ethyl alcohol for non-beverage use.

14-05Announces that licensee retail stores, wine stores, liquor primary and food primary establishments may now store liquor off-site, and that the process for manufacturers to store liquor off-site has been streamlined.

14-04Clarifies policy surrounding manufacturer samples handed out in public for home consumption and makes the following rules a term and condition on manufacturer and agent licenses.

14-03Announces the implementation of Liquor Policy Review recommendations 56 and 57, which are intended to increase flexibility for liquor primary (LP) stadium licensees. The report recommended removing restrictions on drink choices at stadiums and increasing flexibility around mobile vendors in the concourse areas.

14-02Announces the implementation of two policy recommendations from the Liquor Policy Review in relation to public special occasion licensing (SOL). The first is to allow whole-site licensing of public SOLs, eliminating beverage gardens except where in the public interest to impose them. The second is to allow the sale and service of spirits at public SOLs.