Liquor license ease served up

Liquor license ease served up

Liquor licence applications will be processed more efficiently thanks to upcoming changes

Liquor licence applications will be processed more efficiently thanks to upcoming changes involving local governments and First Nations.

Currently, when a business applies for a liquor primary licence, manufacturer lounge or special event area, the application is reviewed by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB).The application is then referred to the local government or First Nation whose role is to gather public input and provide a recommendation to LCLB. In some cases, this process can take up to one year because the provincial and local government or First Nation reviews happen consecutively.

As part of the province’s ongoing work to cut red tape, the LCLB will allow these processes to happen concurrently, starting Jan. 23, 2017. This change could save time for businesses, local governments or First Nations and the province, allowing businesses to open faster.

“During the Liquor Policy Review, we heard loud and clear from both businesses and local governments that it was taking too long to process some liquor licence applications,” said John Yap, parliamentary secretary for Liquor Reform Policy.

“These changes will streamline the application process so business owners can get the certainty they need and government, and ultimately taxpayers, get a more efficient system.”

Liquor licensing in B.C. will be further modernized to provide local governments the option to allow staff to evaluate and make recommendations on new liquor licences and changes to existing licences.

This update will remove the requirement for local governments to provide a council resolution to the LCLB, enhancing local governments’ ability to provide input relevant to their communities while further streamlining the application process.

Additionally, the province has reduced the criteria on which local governments and First Nations must comment in instances when they provide a council resolution to the LCLB regarding a liquor primary licence, manufacturer lounge or special event area application.

The remaining criteria will have a greater overall focus on community impact and therefore be more meaningful. This change respects the role of local governments and First Nations in setting standards for assessing liquor licence applications in their communities.

These modernized liquor policies are based on feedback from British Columbians during the Liquor Policy Review, and the result of collaboration between the province, the Union of BC Municipalities, local governments and First Nations through the B.C.-UBCM Liquor Working Group.