Liquor Licensing

Businesses that serve alcoholic beverages must hold a valid liquor licence. The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) issues liquor licences in B.C. There are two main types of liquor licences:

  • liquor-primary licence: for businesses whose focus is the service of alcoholic beverages (e.g., a bar or nightclub)
  • food-primary licence: for businesses whose focus is the service of food (e.g., a restaurant)

The City of Victoria is involved in the review of all new applications for, and amendments to, liquor-primary licences. The City may take part in the review of a food-primary licence when the owner is requesting hours of liquor service past midnight, or an entertainment endorsement.

Liquor Licensing Policy

The purpose of the City’s Liquor Licensing Policy is to provide direction to:

  • liquor licence applicants on the process and fees associated with the City's review of applications
  • the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) on the types of applications that the City will opt-out of providing comment on
  • City staff on criteria for liquor licence applications that need Council review and public comment

Read the Liquor Licensing Policy [PDF/134KB]

Application Process

The provincial government requires liquor licences and applications to be submitted to the LCRB. The LCRB provides the application and can offer guidance to applicants on the appropriate application type. Once the application type is selected, a local government/First Nation may need to review the application. This review must happen before it is submitted to the LCRB.

Fees for received LCRB applications are found in the Liquor Licensing Fee Bylaw. They are as follows:

  • $200 application fee for a licence application that requires a staff assessment
  • $750 application fee for a licence application that requires a staff assessment and Council assessment
  • $40 for a staff assessment of a licence application for a temporary change to a liquor licence’s terms and conditions

Review Process

The City’s review of liquor applications is directed by B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licensing Act, Victoria’s Liquor Licensing Policy and Victoria’s Liquor Licensing Fee Bylaw.

Applications to the LCRB requiring the input of local government are subject to the City’s applicable policy and bylaw. Application of the bylaw and policy will determine applicable fees and process for review. This may include an ability to opt-out of a formalised review, indicating immediate support for the application to the LCRB.

Applications requiring Council resolution will follow one of two streams, detailed below.

Council Resolution Not Required

Applications meeting the following criteria do not need Council review and the City will opt out of the formal review process:

  • liquor-primary with licensed service up to 10 p.m. and having an occupant load less than 31 persons
  • Manufacturer with Lounge Endorsement, Special Event Area, or Picnic Area with licensed service up to 10 p.m. and having an occupant load less than 31 persons
  • an extension to hours of licensed service for all licence types up to 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve
  • the addition of an Entertainment Endorsement to any Food Primary with licensed service until midnight

Council Resolution Required

Resolutions will be provided within 90 days of accepting the application. The review process involves the following:

  • staff review — police, Sustainable Planning and Community Development, Engineering and Bylaw Enforcement
  • public notification, including:
    • a mailed notice to residents with 100 metres of the establishment
    • a notice posting for a period of 30 days at the establishment
  • a report to Council which considers comments from the staff review and public comments
  • the report to Council shared with the applicant
  • applicant presentation to Council and opportunity to address or mitigate concerns brought forward

The criteria for review is established by the applicable LCRB application.