Enforcement of the Act
Monitoring performance through inspections
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Local liquor inspectors conduct routine inspections of all licensed premises to make sure they comply with the Act and Regulation, and with their licence terms and conditions. Please be prepared to produce your SIR certificate card for inspection.
In addition, local police departments regularly make unannounced visits to licensed establishments.
The police look particularly for anything that may lead to a disturbance within the community or threaten public safety including noise, overcrowding, drunkenness and minors in possession of alcohol.
The officer will record any violation on a Licensed Premises Check (LPC) form, leave a copy with the licensee and send a copy to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. The branch will follow up and may choose to take further enforcement action as a result of the LPC.
The Liquor Control and Licensing Act and Regulation may be enforced through penalties imposed by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. The Act authorizes the LCLB to:
- impose conditions on a licence,
- suspend or cancel a licence where the licensee fails to comply with the requirements of the Act or Regulation, and
- impose monetary penalties.
Police agencies may enforce the Act through court prosecutions when police have evidence that the licensee or its employee has committed an offence under the Act.
The Human Rights Code
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British Columbia’s Human Rights Code also plays a key role in how licensees and staff conduct themselves in the performance of their duties. The code’s intent is to protect against all forms of human discrimination (e.g. race, age, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, political belief, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex or sexual orientation), thereby ensuring individual rights. You must respect these rights whenever you are making decisions to deny or permit access, to eject or to control patrons on your premises.
For example, although, the Liquor Control and Licensing Act requires a licensee or employee to request an intoxicated person to leave, you must be careful not to eject a patron based on discriminatory grounds. If a group of people from a racial minority enter your establishment, it is legitimate to refuse service if any of the group appear unruly or intoxicated. The situation must be handled delicately, however, so that there is no misperception by these patrons that they are being discriminated against. There are examples where patrons have brought complaints to B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal that they were ejected on discriminatory grounds.