Liqour selections

Manitoba streamlining liquor licenses – Winnipeg Free Press



Manitoba is reforming laws that require alcohol to be served with food, entertainment or lodging.

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen on Tuesday introduced the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Amendment Act (Bill 38), which would eliminate liquor license categories and allow businesses that serve liquor alcohol to operate with fewer regulations.

“It just reduces the number of licenses and makes it a little easier for different companies to work,” Goertzen said. “Instead of trying to find a license that fits into the business model, we look at the business model and build licensing around it.”

Currently, the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority has six categories of service licenses and 14 subcategories, including beverage rooms, entertainment facilities, dining rooms and unique hospitality venues.

Each license has a different set of rules that businesses must follow to be allowed to serve alcohol. For example, a beverage room license requires the operator to offer a minimum number of hotel rooms; dining room licenses are only issued to businesses that have a commercial kitchen.

“It just reduces the number of licenses and makes it a little easier for different companies to work.” – Minister of Justice Kelvin Goertzen

Goertzen called it difficult for businesses.

The LGCA has been forced to find “workarounds” to accommodate businesses that fall outside current legislation, including seasonal patios and wine bars, he said.

The proposed law would establish a variety of service licenses through regulation, Goertzen said. The bill would allow any business with a liquor service license to sell liquor for takeout or delivery with food.

“Many licenses have requirements related to providing entertainment, unique hospitality experiences or food service, none of which relate to the safe and responsible service of alcohol,” he said.

“Under the (bill), the number of categories would be reduced to provide a more flexible framework that would allow new business models to be licensed.”

Although the proposed regulatory changes have yet to be released by the government, LGCA chief executive Kristianne Dechant said any new rules will be “linked to the responsible sale, service and consumption of alcohol “.

“What it will look like, probably, is that we will continue to have a food service requirement, but we won’t have the same requirements for commercial kitchens and the same constructions that we have now.” – Kristianne Dechant, General Manager of the LGCA

“What it will look like, probably, is that we will continue to have a food service requirement, but we won’t have the same requirements for commercial kitchens and the same constructions that we have right now,” he said. said Dechant.

“We know that serving food when you serve alcohol is a responsible thing, so we will always have some type of dietary requirement in all types of licenses,” she continued.

Dechant said she doesn’t expect companies to rush to apply for licenses if the bill becomes law.

Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association executive director Shaun Jeffrey described the changes as a positive step for the many businesses that have adapted their operating models throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pop-up establishments have had the biggest licensing challenges, Jeffrey said, saying that if a business can safely serve alcohol, it should be licensed to do so.

“We’re always changing, adapting and pivoting — that’s what’s kept us open through 24 months of the pandemic,” Jeffrey said. “We had to take what we learned and how we had to change, and the government has to change with us.”

“The government recognizes the need to modernize the way alcohol is sold and design it in a way that continues to protect revenues for health care and education and other government spending, and is considering how other provinces have succeeded in doing so. – John Graham, spokesperson for the Retail Council of Canada

Retail Council of Canada spokesman John Graham said grocery and convenience store operators want flexibility when it comes to selling alcohol to their customers.

A recent poll conducted by the council found that seven in 10 Manitobans would like the ability to purchase alcohol at their local grocery store, Graham said.

“The government recognizes the need to modernize the way alcohol is sold and design it in a way that continues to protect revenues for health care and education and other government spending, and is considering how other provinces managed to do it,” he said. “They are cautious, but at the same time we are seeing more and more Manitobans frustrated with the current rules.”

The Conservatives introduced Bill 40 in the last legislative session. This would have allowed the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation to sign retail agreements with private retailers in urban areas. Last October, as acting prime minister, Goertzen withdrew the bill, along with four others.

In a statement to Free HurryScott Fielding, minister responsible for MLL, did not rule out the possibility of boosting alcohol retail sales.

“The Manitoba government is committed to improving customer convenience and reducing red tape for organizations involved in the sale of alcohol,” Fielding wrote in an email late Tuesday.

“Our government will continue to consult with Manitobans and stakeholders to learn more about potential improvements.”

— with files from Maggie Macintosh

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