Liquor Licence Toronto

Toronto just made liquor licences even harder to acquire

Those looking to open new bars and restaurants in Toronto are going to face new hurdles after the City changed its process for the acquisition of a liquor licence in response to relaxed enforcement efforts on the part of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). In the past, the AGCO policed special conditions attached to many city liquor licences like the requirement to sell food or regulate noise, but in mid March it announced that it would now restrict its focus to core issues like service to minors and overcrowding.

Given that City of Toronto by-law penalties pale in comparison to the power of an AGCO inspector to shut a bar or restaurant down, council has decided that its only recourse is to be more stringent in awarding licences in the first place. Along with requiring new applicants to pass the CAMH Safe Bars program, those seeking a liquor licence will require a letter of endorsement from the local MPP. Failure to meet these conditions will result in the application being sent to a secondary hearing.

This new process might help the city in limiting new bars from opening in a neighbourhood like Parkdale, where a moratorium on such establishments has been sent to the OMB. But for a city that's already known for its heaps of red tape, one wonders if a more labour-intensive liquor licence application process might not put the hurt on the vibrant food and entertainment industry across the city, and especially in neighbourhoods with restaurant and bar scenes that are just taking shape.

What do you think? Has the ACGO forced Toronto to make it harder to get a liquor licence?

Photo by Scott Snider


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

Downtown Toronto is getting a new Farm Boy location next week

Toronto auto shop is being transformed into a stunning new motorcycle store and cafe

Here's when Toronto's curbside patios could be opening back up

Toronto bar apologizes for political donation to white nationalist

Global fried chicken chain opening its first Canadian location in Mississauga

Secret pop-up dinner service in Toronto is about to open a permanent restaurant

Chinese restaurants in Toronto team up to celebrate Lunar New Year and fight stigma

Toronto business gets creative with pickup after it's forced to renovate front window