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If you have a BC liquor license, LCRB compliance is an ongoing process, or at least it should be. After having endured the time consuming, complex and costly journey to liquor license approval, liquor licensees should safeguard their considerable investment and protect it like their livelihood depends on it – because it does!
The ABCs of Compliance
Compliance isn’t a “one-and-done” aspect of running a liquor business. Here’s where the “ABC” comes in. BC liquor licensees should aim to “Always Be Compliant” because compliance missteps have a way of snowballing into out-of-control messes that become harder to rectify and more costly.
While you might know Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors as liquor license application consultants, our BC liquor license services also include compliance audits and operational strategy. We spend a lot of time teaching our clients about the importance of having an in-house compliance program because we understand its importance and the consequences if they don’t.
When we help implement compliance programs, they often include training for staff and daily and weekly checklists. While licensees can find information about compliance in LCRB handbooks and their liquor license documentation, having this information in one place, close at hand, is convenient.
What is the LCRB Compliance Enforcement Program?
The LCRB Compliance Enforcement Program “reduces liquor and non-medical cannabis-related harms to public safety”, e.g., intoxication, consumption of alcohol or cannabis by minors, overcrowding, and after-hours liquor consumption.
Compliance and enforcement inspectors regularly visit businesses to ensure they comply with the terms of their license and the law. Inspections may be scheduled, or inspectors might “drop in” without notice. Inspectors use an escalated approach to enforcement.
What are the Steps of Enforcement?
Enforcement steps are as follows:
The business is inspected for compliance with the terms and conditions set out by the licensee’s BC liquor license and relevant liquor laws. Inspectors also review documents that you must have on hand, such as the business’s liquor license, floor plans, Serving it Right certifications, liquor/cannabis register.
- Notification of Inspection
If your business is out of compliance, an inspector sends a “Notification of Inspection” which provides details about contraventions and steps to resolving them.
- Resolution Through Education or Voluntary Compliance
If the contravention isn’t serious or a first occurrence, the inspector may decide not to issue an “Enforcement Action”. Instead, they may schedule a compliance meeting with business owners and staff to discuss the contravention and agree to a resolution.
- Enforcement Action
For more serious or repeated compliance contraventions, an inspector may issue a “Notice of Enforcement Action” (NOEA), which will include details about alleged contraventions and options, such as a fine, liquor license suspension or cancellation.
- Enforcement hearing
If a licensee agrees with the NOEA, they can sign a waiver and accept the penalty options. Signing the waiver will make the details of the inspection, fines/suspension a part of your permanent LCRB record. The licensee can choose not to sign a waiver and instead attend an enforcement hearing to argue their case.
Source: “Enforcement process”, Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch.
Always Be Compliant. Thrive Makes it Easier Than You Think
Protect your liquor license and your business with compliance audits, training and manuals by Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors. We provide LCRB compliance services for the following BC liquor licenses: Licensee Retail Store, Wine Store, Liquor Primary, Food Primary and Manufacturer.