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Province Updating Liquor Laws

Archived Backgrounder

Province Updating Liquor Laws

Ministry of the Attorney General

Ontario is taking the next steps to update alcohol laws to better serve Ontarians. The proposed changes will remove unnecessary barriers and restrictions for special events, festivals, and licensed establishments. This will provide Ontarians with a more enjoyable experience, and improve tourism and local economies.

The changes build on other recent improvements to Ontario's alcohol regulatory system:

Responsible Consumption/Public Safety

  • 2010 -  zero blood alcohol tolerance instituted for drivers 21 years of age and under
  • 2010 - ignition interlock conduct review program came into effect
  • 2009 - escalating sanctions introduced for repeat drinking drivers with blood alcohol concentration measuring 0.05 to 0.08
  • 2009 - administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) implemented to act as a bridge between a warning and suspension/revocation
  • 2007 - licensed area broadened to include washrooms and hallways


  • 2010 - risk-based licensing system implemented to allow Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to assess risks to public safety, public interest and non-compliance when issuing liquor licences
  • 2007 - mandatory server training introduced for all licencees
  • 2007 - additional conditions imposed to ensure licencees control premises and prevent disorderly conduct nearby
  • 2007 - additional grounds introduced to refuse, revoke or suspend a licence

Consumer Access Initiatives

  • 2009 - licensing of movie theatres and bingo halls permitted
  • 2008 - hours beer and wine manufacturers permitted to sell "by the glass" on-site extended from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • 2007 - beer and wine manufacturers permitted to sell "by the glass" on-site
  • 2007 - allowing licensed establishments to have drink specials
  • 2005 - bring-your-own-wine, take-home-the-rest implemented

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