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Ontario Modernizes Liquor Laws

Archived News Release

Ontario Modernizes Liquor Laws

McGuinty Government Removes Unnecessary Restrictions On Ontarians

Ministry of the Attorney General

On June 1, Ontario will have updated alcohol laws to better serve Ontarians.

The changes eliminate unnecessary barriers for special events, festivals and licensed establishments. This will provide Ontarians with a more enjoyable experience, and improve tourism and local economies.

The changes allow the following:

  • Festivals and events can define an area larger than beer tents where people can walk around freely with drinks. Local communities are free to customize the events to their needs.
  • Restaurant and bar servers can carry drinks on public sidewalks to licensed areas such as patios.
  • Special events such as weddings or charity fundraisers can serve alcohol for an extra hour until 2 a.m.
  • All-inclusive vacation packages can now be sold in Ontario.
  • Business owners can give a complimentary drink to customers to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary.

The province is also strengthening enforcement by adding additional monetary penalties against those who violate Ontario's liquor laws.

Modernizing the province's liquor laws supports Ontario's Open Ontario Plan to strengthen our economy and create new opportunities for jobs.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario consulted with more than 40 groups, including the public, licensees, festival organizers and promoters, social responsibility groups, municipalities, police, and public health agencies.
  • Every year, festivals and events generate more than 22,000 jobs in Ontario.
  • Tourism spending contributes more than $22 billion annually to our economy, and supports approximately 300,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“These changes will provide additional flexibility, while strengthening enforcement.”

Chris Bentley

Attorney General

“Festivals and events are powerful economic drivers - they draw tourists to our communities, create jobs and stimulate local economies. We are making it easier for festival and event organizers, restaurants and bars to attract more people and create more jobs while providing an enjoyable experience for Ontarians.”

Michael Chan

Minister of Tourism and Culture

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