Province Cuts Red Tape For Organizers of Festivals and Cultural Events

Changes coming in January to provincial liquor licensing will simplify the application process for organizers of festivals, concerts, and other cultural events, with the goal of creating more events in BC and strengthening patronage of the arts. 

Previously, only non-profit organizations could apply for a Special Occasion Licence (now called a Special Event Permit) and were responsible for liquor service at the event, even when it was organized by a third party. The red-tape reduction will enable businesses and event organizers to apply for the permit and accept liability for liquor service, removing the requirement for charities to be involved in the application process. The change to Special Event permit applications takes effect January 23, 2017. 

Other amendments to the regulations mean that permit holders can partner with breweries, wineries, and distilleries to sell specific brands at charitable events. 

The changes come as a result of consultations through the Liquor Policy Review and the Province's public engagement on Red Tape Reduction, and build on the Province's work to support the cultural sector through its Creative Economy Strategy, announced earlier in 2016. 

For more information on the Liquor Policy Review and its recommendations, click here. For the Special Event Permit policy directive, click here.

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