On June 20, 2014, the B.C. Government announced a host of new liquor laws that will be of interest to B.C. employers. Regulations that came into force under Bill-15, also known as the Liquor Control and Licensing Amendment Act, 2014, amend the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation to permit:

  • licensed establishments to vary drink prices and provide “happy hour” pricing at different times throughout the day; however, happy hour prices cannot go below prescribed minimums and must be set in advance;
  • businesses that retail or manufacture alcoholic beverages to market their wares in a broader range of venues (for example, retail liquor stores can now apply for permits entitling them to sell alcohol at food and beverage festivals for off-site consumption, and vintners, brewers and distillers can now apply to sell their beverages at farmers markets);
  • liquor primary establishments to allow parents to bring minors into their establishments for family dining before 10 p.m. (requiring designation by the General Manager ["GM"] of the Liquor Control and Licensing Board ["LCLB"] as a “Family Foodservice” establishment); and
  • Family Foodservice establishments (along with others approved by the GM of the LCLB) to hire minors to work in their establishments in positions where they do not sell or serve alcoholic beverages.

You can learn more about the LCLB’s list of recently implemented policy directives here.

While the new laws reflect a loosening of provincial rules regarding the service and selling of alcohol, compliance will still be strictly enforced.  Employers operating Family Foodservice establishments, in particular, will have to pay close attention to scheduling and ensure all employees are aware of the limits on work performed by minors.

The recent amendments are but a few of the intended changes to B.C.’s liquor regime.  Among other things, new and varied training requirements for the serving and selling of alcohol are on the horizon, which employers will want to ensure are quickly and diligently implemented for compliance purposes.

Will Skinner