Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

Distributed by go2Distributed by go2

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The History of Serving It Right

The Serving It Right program was initiated during a provincial liquor policy review in 1987. During the review’s public hearings, representatives from virtually all types of licensed establishments requested a mandatory responsible beverage service (RBS) program for BC. More than 20 similar public and private sector programs were reviewed in order to develop the original program. Serving It Right differed from these other programs in that it was a joint initiative of both the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch and the hospitality industry. The involvement of these two groups ensured that:

  • the course provided authoritative information on provincial legislation and Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch policies;
  • the skills and strategies presented in the course drew on expertise in the industry and are practical and workable in the context of licensed establishments.

In 1989, two versions of the program—licensee and server—became mandatory for liquor primary establishments and their servers.

Since 1989, the provincial government has entrusted the responsibility for delivering Serving It Right to a non-profit tourism association—the Hospitality Industry Education Advisory Committee. HIEAC was founded in 1976 to address the training needs of the tourism and hospitality industry. Founding members who reviewed and endorsed the Serving It Right program were the B.C. Cabaret Owners’ Association, B.C. Chef's Association, B.C. Motels, Campgrounds, Resorts Association, B.C. & Yukon Hotels’ Association, Neighbourhood Pub Owners’ Association of B.C., Canadian Food Service Executives Association, and the Restaurant & Foodservices Association of B.C.

In 2003, after an 18-month task-force review, HIEAC changed its name to go2HR—The resource for people in Tourism.

The new Serving It Right program

In 2005 and 2006, the provincial government, go2HR and representatives of the hospitality industry evaluated and substantially updated the existing program. Tourism associations who reviewed and endorsed this program included the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C., Restaurants Canada, the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, and the B.C. & Yukon Hotels’ Association.

In 2007, a single (R) certificate program was introduced for Serving It Right. The current version reflects changes based on certificate holder feedback over the past 5 years, primarily in the "Implementing responsible beverage service" section. In 2015, new content has been added to the SIR course as outlined in the Liquor Policy Review. In 2018, new content was added to the SIR course to reflect the legalization of non-medical cannabis.