The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is taking a new approach to the issuance and regulation of liquor sales licences called risk-based licensing, which allows the AGCO to encourage good business practices throughout the industry and strategically focus resources where they will make the most difference. With the completion of Phase One, which saw this new process apply only to licensees in eleven municipalities, risk-based licensing will be used by the AGCO to process all types of liquor licence applications across the province beginning March 1, 2010. For those licensees not in Phase One communities, they will likely first encounter risk-based licensing during their next renewal period.
Although there is always some risk attached to the sale and service of alcohol, the AGCO recognizes that because of their type of business, location, past history, experience, etc., some establishments pose a greater risk to public safety, to the public interest and/or to non-compliance with the law. Risk-Based Licensing is one of several initiatives that are being implemented by the AGCO to refocus decision-making based on risk assessment, and to move toward regulation based on compliance rather than enforcement.
Overall, risk-based licensing will be helpful for liquor licensees as this new process will assist them in operating their establishments in a safe and responsible way, and in compliance with the Liquor Licence Act and its regulations.
The authority to carry out this new licensing regime is under Section 8.1 of the Liquor Licence Act.
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More information can be found on the AGCO website by visiting www.agco.on.ca.