Role of local governments and First Nations in liquor licensing

A liquor licence application may need to be reviewed by the local authority in that community. As a local government or First Nation, you must record your response using the liquor and cannabis licensing portal, unless the application is for a Rural Licensee Retail Store (RLRS).

If you are a local government or First Nation applying for, or changing a liquor licence as a licensee, refer to liquor licences

Please note, under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (LCLA), a local government can be a municipality, regional district, or local trust committee for a local trust area under the Island's Trust Act. The LCLA also provides a definition of First Nation in the legislation. First Nation is mentioned on this page as per legislation. 


On this page:

Access the liquor and cannabis licensing portal

Log into the liquor and cannabis licensing portal with a Business BCeID.

Each First Nation or local government can decide how to manage their Business BCeID.

For example, they can: 

  • Create multiple users for the same BCeID, or
  • Have a centralized email address

Activate your account

You must activate your account following the steps below.

The first time you log in, you will need to: 

  1. Accept the terms of use
  2. Confirm your information
  3. Ensure the 'local government' or 'Indigenous Nation' business type is selected
  4. Click through the remaining prompts until you see the 'Dashboard'

If you have previously registered using a different business type, contact the client support team to have your account updated.

Questions about connections to cannabis producers and other liquor licences will also appear.

  • These questions only need to be answered if you also hold liquor licences as a licensee

Before you request activation, update your Indigenous Nation or local government information in the 'Account Profile.' Otherwise, the LCRB may not have the right contact information for your organization.

The business email in your account is the one the system will use to notify you that an application is ready for review.

To update and manage information in the Account Profile:

  1. Click the icon in the top right-hand corner that displays the local government or Indigenous Nation name
  2. Click the 'Manage Account" option that appears in the drop-down menu
  3. Provide as much information as you can about your Indigenous Nation or local government
  4. Ensure the following information is up to date:
    • Business Phone Number
    • Business Email
    • Liquor Policy Information Link (your local government web page that has information about liquor applications)
  5. Click 'Save and Continue' at the bottom of the page

To request activation:

  • Click on the 'Request Activation' button to send the request to the LCRB
    • This button will be disabled

An LCRB staff member will review your request and notify you by email when the request is approved.

 


Types of responses from the local government or First Nation

There are generally three different types of responses you may be asked to provide, depending on the licence application:

Community input process (comments required)

  • This is the most comprehensive input process. Local governments and First Nations who opt in to this process are invited to make comments and recommendations, usually in the form of a resolution, regarding the application. This process requires you to conduct a formal public input process.

Objection or no objection (comments not required)

  • Local governments and First Nations are invited to provide a simple “no objection” (approved) or “objection” (not approved) response. This does not require formal consideration of community input or a resolution.

Zoning confirmation (comments not required)

  • Local governments and First Nations may be asked to confirm if zoning allows for the application to proceed, without providing any comments.

More information is in the section How to review applications and Applications Awaiting Zoning Confirmation. 

Applications that require local government or First Nation response

Make sure that your response meets legislative requirements. For applications that require community input, you must consider the impact of the licence application on nearby residents in the community and provide comments, generally through a formal resolution. Alternatively, you may choose to opt out of the review process.

Local governments and First Nations are notified to review and respond to the following applications:

Community input process (comments required)

  • New licence applications
  • Relocation requests
  • Permanent change to opening and closing hours of liquor service
  • Structural change applications that propose to increase person capacity or add a new patio
  • Adding or increasing a temporary use area endorsement (golf courses and ski hills only)
  • Converting a Liquor Primary Club licence to a Liquor Primary licence

Objection or no objection (comments not required)

  • Temporary change to opening and closing hours of liquor service
  • Temporary use area endorsement
  • Event-driven term and condition change
  • Relocations adjacent to the existing site (such as next door) without changes to occupancy load or liquor service hours. Contact the LCRB to confirm
  • Temporary extension of licensed area (TELA) with capacity increase (events only)

Community input process (comments required)

  • New Lounge endorsement or the following lounge endorsement amendments:
    • Increase in the person capacity
    • Permanent change to opening and closing hours of liquor service
    • Temporary change to hours of liquor service (events only)  
  • New Special event area (SEA) endorsement or the following SEA amendments:
    • Increase in the person capacity
    • Permanent or temporary change to opening and closing hours for liquor service

Objection or no objection (comments not required)

  • Temporary change to opening and closing hours of liquor sale or service
  • Temporary extension of licensed area (TELA) with capacity increase (events only)

Zoning confirmation (comments not required)

  • Picnic endorsement (new or change applications)

Community input process (comments required)

  • Patron-participation endorsement (e.g. dine and dance or karaoke)
  • Adding or increasing a temporary use area endorsement (golf courses and ski hills only)
  • Permanent change to hours of liquor service if proposed hours are before 9:00 am or after midnight

Objection or no objection (comments not required)

  • Temporary change to hours of liquor service if proposed hours are before 9:00 am or after midnight
  • Temporary extension of licensed area (TELA) with capacity increase (events only)
 

Rural Licensee Retail Store (RLRS)

Community input process (comments required)

  • New licence applications

Note: Once LCRB staff determine the RLRS application is eligible, they will email the local government or First Nation directly. 

 

How to review applications

Generally, when an application is submitted, the system will automatically notify you through your business email in the Account Profile.

LCRB staff may also notify a local government or First Nation by email when an application requires their review.

 When you are notified, you can: 

  • Log into the liquor and cannabis licensing portal
  • Navigate to the 'Applications for Review' tab to review 

The LCRB will not see the application until:

  • The First Nation or local government completes their portion of the application process
  • The applicant pays the application fee (where required)

When reviewing an application, please direct questions about the application proposal to the applicant. Contact the LCRB for questions about the licensing requirements and community input process.

You will see the following sections in the liquor and cannabis licensing portal:

Applications Awaiting Comment

If an application appears in the 'Applications Awaiting Comment' section, you will need to review by clicking “Review Application.”

  • Most application types requiring local government review will appear in this section

After you click 'Review Application,' you can:

  • Review the application information
  • Download any attachments provided by the applicant
  • Save the application information by using the 'Print as PDF' function in your Internet browser

You are encouraged to work with the applicant to ensure they meet your local requirements, to identify potential issues related to zoning or bylaws, before proceeding. To proceed, you must enter the name and contact information of the First Nation official, local government official, or delegated authority signing for receipt of the application. Then choose one of the following options: 

Accepting the application means that you will begin the review and public input process, and will provide your formal resolution or comments within 90 days.

If you need more than 90 days to complete your processes, you can request additional time by emailing LCRBLiquor@gov.bc.ca before the end of the 90 days with the following details:

  • An explanation of the current stage of local government or First Nation review
  • Reasons for the delay (including if the applicant is the reason for the delay)
  • Your suggested time frame for providing comments/resolution

If the applicant is not making efforts to move an application forward the application will be terminated.

If the LCRB grants your request to extend the 90 day limit, you will receive written authorization. However, delays in the application process can have a significant impact on the applicant.

Gathering residents’ views (community/public input)

When you conduct the public input process, you may use one or more of the following methods:

  • Receive written comments in response to a public notice of the application
    • For example, posting a notice at the site, advertising in local newspapers, or delivering letters to nearby residents
  • Conduct a public hearing
  • Hold a referendum
  • Any other similar process

You must ensure the public input methods: 

  • Are fair and equitable to both the residents and the applicant
  • Provide all nearby residents with reasonable notice and opportunity to comment
  • Avoid any perception of bias
  • Are appropriate to local circumstances
  • Provide enough information for residents to understand the nature of the application including:
    • The type of licence or change to a licence
    • The proposed person capacity and/or hours of liquor service, if applicable

You may gather the views of residents to consider a rezoning application for the proposed site, provided the above application details are clear in the notification.

Adding local restrictions or conditions

Sometimes, you may want to recommend approval with certain restrictions or conditions (e.g. hours of liquor service) on the licence or endorsement. In these situations, the comments should clearly explain the rationale for recommending restrictions or conditions.  Contact the LCRB to confirm you have the required authority to impose the conditions before finalizing your recommendation.

Local governments or First Nations may:  

  • Through terms and conditions of the applicant's business licence, impose certain operating rules on the proposed establishment
    • In these cases, the local government or First Nation is responsible to enforce those rules
  • Through a bylaw, restrict or prohibit any or all types of entertainment that would otherwise be permitted under regulation or LCRB policy
    • In these cases, the local government or First Nation is responsible to enforce that bylaw

After you accept the application for consideration, it will move to the Applications Awaiting Resolution section, where you will upload your comments.

Applications Awaiting Resolution

Applications will appear in this section after you accept an application for consideration.  In this section, the local government can upload their formal resolution to the application. First Nations are not required to provide a formal resolution and can upload their comments (i.e. letter).

To upload the documents:

  1. Click 'Provide Resolution Document'
  2. Upload the documentation in the appropriate section(s) at the bottom of the application
  3. Click 'Provide Resolution'

The application will now appear in the 'Resolved Applications' section.

The LCRB will notify the local government or First Nation by email when the approval in principle (AIP) and licence are issued.

Opting out of the review process means that the local government or First Nation does not want to participate in the review and public input process.

If a local government or First Nation opts out, the LCRB will take over the public input process and gather the views of residents.

No further action is required by the local government or First Nation. The only exception is when the LCRB requests additional information to determine that approving the application is in the public interest.

To opt out:

  1. Click 'Opt Out of Comment' for each application
  2. Confirm your selection
  3. Upload any documentation supporting the decision to opt-out (if applicable)
  4. Click 'OK' to confirm

After you opt-out, the applicant can now pay the fee (if required) and submit the application to the LCRB.

A local government or First Nation cannot opt out of half of the process. For example, to provide comments, you must also gather public input (unless there are no nearby residents). If you gathered public input, you must also provide the LCRB with your comments on the application.

Deleting an application means that the local government or First Nation does not want the application to proceed and the application is terminated.

IMPORTANT: Deleting an application is only appropriate in specific, limited circumstances. Please contact the applicant and the LCRB before deletion to confirm this is the correct step.

To delete an application or change: 

  1. Click the ‘Reject Application' button
    • A pop-up box will appear confirming the selection 
  2. Click 'OK' to confirm your decision
    • The application is now deleted

 


Applications Awaiting Zoning Confirmation

Application types will appear in this section when confirmation of zoning is required from the local government or First Nation before the application can be submitted to the LCRB.

To review an application:

  1. Click 'Review Application'
  2. Download any attachments provided by the applicant
  3. Save the application information by using the 'Print as PDF' function in your Internet browser
  4. At the bottom of the application, enter the name and contact information of the local government or First Nation official or approved delegate confirming the zoning
  5. Click 'Submit' to send to the LCRB for processing

The LCRB will notify the local government or First Nation by email when the approval in principle (AIP) and licence are issued.


Delegating authority as a local government

For applications that do not require a resolution, a local government can delegate authority to staff to provide comments. First Nations cannot delegate authority under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

The delegation must comply with: 

The delegation can specify some or all types of liquor licensing applications and can be very specific. For example:

  • All applications to extend closing times up to 2:00 am, or
  • All applications where public input resulted in no more than five letters of opposition

If you delegate authority to staff:

  • Email a copy of the delegation to the LCRB Client Support Team at LCRBliquor@gov.bc.ca describing the parameters of the delegation

To learn more about delegating authority, refer to the following legislation: