August 23, 2017


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Liquor-licensing regimes in Manitoba and its neighbours

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/1/2013 (1677 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.


For now, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission is saddled with one of the most complex regulatory regimes in Canadian alcohol licensing, with a total of 12 different licence categories. Eleven sets of rules govern alcohol sales to the public.

1. DINING ROOMS: A $300 annual fee covers a liquor licence for a restaurant with tables, seats and a menu of at least five meals. Alcohol may be served along with food between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, but only 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays. Alcohol must comprise no more than 60 per cent of the revenue; food must comprise no less than 40 per cent.


2. COCKTAIL LOUNGES: Restaurants with dining-room licences may apply for an additional $500-a-year licence allowing alcohol sales without food at a lounge at the same address. The seating capacity of the lounge can’t exceed that of the dining room. The same alcohol-service hours apply. The alcohol sold in the lounge, however, counts toward the 60-40 ratio that must be maintained for the entire operation — the dining room and the lounge.

3. BEVERAGE ROOMS: Hotels with "a sufficient number of guest rooms" as determined by the MLCC, an MLCC hotel-registration certificate and a dining-room licence may obtain a $500 annual licence to sell alcohol in a beverage room. Beverage rooms do not have to sell food but must make at least two hot items available. Liquor sales are allowed from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Mondays through Saturdays, but only noon to 2 a.m. Sundays.

4. RETAILERS: Beer vendors on the property of an MLCC-registered hotel and retailers attached to a brewery, wine manufacturer, distiller or sacramental wine producer may obtain a $500-a-year licence for retail sales between 9 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon and 2:30 a.m. Sundays.

5. CABARETS: Venues offering live entertainment — as defined by the MLCC — may apply for a $500-a-year licence to sell alcohol during the same hours as the beverage rooms in hotels.

Cabarets must offer at least five menu items but are not subject food-vs.alcohol sales ratios.

6. SPORTS FACILITIES: Golf courses, bowling alleys, rinks, racquet-sports courts, athletic fields, billiard rooms, ski hills, hunting or fishing lodges and facilities offering simulated sports may apply for a $300-a-year licence to sell alcohol during the same hours as dining rooms — but only when the sports activity in question is taking place.

Sports facilities must have kitchens and a menu of at least five meals, but food-alcohol ratios do not apply.

7. SPECTATOR ACTIVITIES: Theatres, concert halls, convention centres and fairgrounds may apply for a $500-ayear licence to sell alcohol during the same hours as dining rooms — but only when an event relating to that venue is taking place. Food-alcohol ratios do not apply.

8. PRIVATE CLUBS: Private clubs for veterans, sports organizations or "fraternal organizations" may apply for a $500-a-year licence to sell alcohol from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays — and depending on the club, some hours on Sundays — to members of the club and signed-in guests. Only members and their guests can be on the premises.

9. TRANSPORTATION: Inner-city bus lines, cruise ships, railway operators and international airports may apply for a $300-a-year alcohol-sales licence, with hours dependent on the type of transportation.

10. CANTEENS: The operator of a military or police canteen may apply for a $300-a-year liquor licence.

11. MANUFACTURERS: Beer, wine and liquor producers.

12. BREW PUBS: A licence is available for brew pubs, though as of December 2012, none existed in Manitoba.


The Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority has five liquor-licence categories, but only three governing alcohol sales.

1. RESTAURANTS: One licence for establishments where the primary source of revenue comes from the preparation and sale of food.

2. TAVERNS: Establishments where alcohol sales are the main source of revenue.

3. SPECIAL-USE PERMITS: A catch-all liquor licence governing private clubs, sports facilities, rail cars, limousines, airplanes, buses, theatres, concert halls, airport lounges, universities, military canteens, stadiums, remote fishing and hunting lodges, fairgrounds, seniors homes, casinos, bingo halls and alcohol home-delivery services.

4. MANUFACTURERS: Beer, wine and liquor producers.

5. U-BREW/U-VIN: An operational permit for businesses that provide beer-making or wine-making equipment and supplies on the premises, for the production of beer and wine consumed in private places.


Despite its uptight reputation, Canada’s most populous province also boasts the nation’s least bureaucratic liquor-licensing regime. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario issues only two licences — one for sale of alcohol and the other for manufacturing.

1. SALES: A uniform set of rules applies to all businesses and non-profit organizations that sell alcohol. As of 2011, there are no longer any restrictions governing what sort of establishments can sell booze.

2. MANUFACTURERS: Beer, wine and liquor producers.

— sources: Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority and Liquor Control

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