Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Implementing Responsible Beverage Service


Check Identification

Guest must be of legal age to enter a Liquor Primary establishment and to order beverage alcohol in any type of liquor-serving operation. You have the right and responsibility to ensure all guests are of legal age. Remember, you are under no obligation to allow entry or provide service. It is up to the guest to provide proof of age. The person whose job it is to check ID must check all people who appear to be close to or under the legal age. It is important to use appropriate, non-confrontational language when checking for ID and dealing with guests.

The establishment should provide a well-lit, quiet, secure space to perform guest checks. Tools, including a flashlight with extra batteries, confidential electronic card scanner/reader, black light, magnifying glass or jeweller's loupe and an up-to-date resource that lists acceptable IDs (complete with sample images) are important.

ID requirements for BC

Two pieces of ID are required in BC to verify age. A licensed establishment is subject to significant legal penalties if any alcohol is served to a minor. The minimum penalty is a 10-day licence suspension or $7,500 fine. Furthermore, a minor caught using false identification is subject to a $230 fine issued by police.

The first piece of identification must:

  • be issued by a government agency (Canadian or other) and
  • include the person's name, birth date and picture

Primary ID can include a driver's licence (including out-of-province), passport, citizenship card, First Nations status card, federal Firearms Possession and Acquisition licence, National Defence ID. Any of these can be used as a secondary piece of identification as well.

As of February, 2013, a new BC Services card has come into circulation. This card replaces and combines the original BC driver licence and health care cards into one identification card. The transition will be complete by 2018. There will be a separate BC Services card for those individuals that don't have a BC Driver's Licence. The Care Card has been cited as the most used form of secondary ID, raising concerns about its loss in this regard.

The second piece of ID is required to verify the authenticity of the first piece of ID. It must:

  • include an imprint of the person's name and
  • include the person's signature and/or picture

Secondary ID examples can include credit cards, bank cards, university or college student ID cards, interim driver's licences (issued by ICBC), BC Transit ProPASSes, Canadian Blood Services donor cards, Transport Canada's Pleasure Craft Operator's Cards, Aeroplan cards or other ID that include an imprint of the person's name and either the person's signature or the person's picture.

You can accept expired and foreign ID, as long as it is readable and you can recognize the customer from the picture.