Alcohol and the Law
The law and alcohol
There is a large body of law regulating the sale and service of alcohol in licensed establishments and the duties owed by licensees and their employees to patrons and members of the public. It is the duty of licensees and servers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and to conduct their business activities accordingly.
The Liquor Control and Licensing Act
British Columbia’s Liquor Control and Licensing Act is the most important legislation governing the sale and service of alcohol in licensed establishments. The Act, which is designed to maintain the orderly and responsible operation of licensed establishments, deals with
- licensing requirements,
- application processes,
- operating terms and conditions such as hours of liquor service and entertainment policies,
- inspections and law enforcement for licensed establishments.
Most importantly, it requires licensees and servers to control the activities that take place in their establishments, including the responsible sale and service of alcohol.
The Liquor Control and Licensing Act is supported by the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation. The general manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch administers the Act and the Regulation, both of which make it clear that those who serve alcohol in a licensed establishment have specific responsibilities.
Your responsibilities under the act
Licensees must meet all applicable requirements of the Act and Regulation, as well as terms and conditions of their licence, which are periodically updated. It is the duty of all licensees to routinely familiarize themselves and their servers with the most recent modifications. Changes to the Act and Regulation, and terms and conditions of licences, are available on the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch website (see the Resources).
The summaries below identify the key rights and responsibilities under the Act and Regulation, as they relate to alcohol service. They also outline some tips that will help you responsibly control alcohol service in your establishment.
Licensees and managers should refer to the Act and the relevant liquor licensee guides for their full range of legal obligations.