Province Announces Modernized Liquor Laws
Come Into Effect April 1
Changes will Provide Enhanced Entertainment Options for Manitobans, Reduced Red Tape, Improved Public Safety: Ministers Chomiak, Lemieux
Manitoba’s modernized liquor laws will come into effect April 1 and will introduce new hospitality opportunities, eliminate red tape and improve public safety, Mineral Resources Minister Dave Chomiak, minister responsible for the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba, and Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux, minister responsible for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, said today.
“This is a complete overhaul of 60-year-old legislation and introduces more choices for consumers while creating greater flexibility and cutting red tape for the hospitality industry,” Minister Chomiak said. “It also introduces new measures to give citizens and municipalities more input into licensing of venues in their communities.”
The new law creates the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba (LGA), bringing regulatory oversight for liquor and gambling under one roof, the minister said. For business, this creates a single inspection process and single application to serve liquor and license video lottery terminals. For families and community groups, this means a single online application for liquor and raffles when hosting socials.
“We encourage businesses to take advantage of the new rules and bring forward ideas for new venues that will enhance the hospitality industry in Manitoba,” Minister Chomiak said. “For the Year of Music, we are offering restaurants and other licensees the chance to operate as live music venues during the Junos and throughout the year. We are also offering a new live entertainment licence that makes it attractive to open a small, live music venue.”
“Increasing flexibility and choice around the regulation of liquor service will be a boon to the hospitality and music industries and create positive experiences for Manitobans and our guests,” said Minister Lemieux. “The extended hours during the Olympic men’s hockey gold-medal game were a good example of the new attitude and an example of the kinds of new opportunities we hope to see during the Junos and the Year of Music.”
“We are very pleased to see the government take action to modernize regulations that have long concerned our members. With these new liquor laws, the province has delivered on its promise to cut red tape and allow us to enhance the experiences we can offer our customers,” said Dwayne Marling, vice-president of Restaurants Canada. “The flexibility shown by the new regulatory authority for special events like the men’s hockey gold-medal game and the upcoming Junos and Year of Music is very encouraging.”
“Modernizing Manitoba’s liquor laws will benefit the hospitality industry and the entire provincial economy. We feel this has been done in a responsible way that benefits restaurants and our patrons,” said Scott Jocelyn, executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “We look forward to an exciting year ahead as these changes are implemented and we celebrate the Year of Music.”
“Hotels are always seeking new and innovative ways to serve their customers,” said Jim Baker, president and CEO, Manitoba Hotel Association. “We believe these changes will provide positive new opportunities for our industry.”
In addition to new hospitality opportunities, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and Manitoba Lotteries Corporation will legally merge on April 1 to form the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation. The merger was announced in 2012 to increase efficiencies, reduce red tape and achieve cost savings, while enhancing customer services.
To date, the corporation has identified $6.1 million in accumulated merger savings that will be realized by March 31. An additional $4.8 million in operational saving has been identified over the next two years with no layoffs.
Included in the law governing the new corporation is a mandate that two per cent of net revenue of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries be allocated to responsible gaming and responsible liquor consumption initiatives.
The modernized liquor laws follow extensive consultations with the public, the hospitality industry as well with law enforcement and justice officials, Minister Chomiak said.
In support of the Year of Music, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries is sponsoring a new free mobile phone and tablet app called Manitoba Live that helps music fans find concerts in venues and clubs in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba. Locally designed and developed by Manitoba Music, the iOS-compatible app features the most up-to-date concert and festival listings, Minister Lemieux said. Music fans will be able to instantly find live music events by venue, date and artist, and search which shows are happening close to them at any given time.