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Liquor Law Flexibility during Juno Ceremony Week

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Province Provides More Flexibility in Liquor Laws

During Juno Ceremony Week: Minister Chomiak

Dining Rooms, Lounges,  Hotel Beverage Rooms May Operate as Music Venues March 24 to 30

As part of Manitoba's Year of Music, a special permit and extended operating hours will provide greater flexibility for liquor licensees and more entertainment opportunities for Manitobans during the week of the 2014 Juno Awards, Mineral Resources Minister Dave Chomiak, minister responsible for the Gaming Commission, said today.

"Building on our declaration of 2014 as the Year of Music, we are pleased to offer more flexibility for licensed premises during Junos week," Minister Chomiak said. "Hosting Junos week in Winnipeg provides us with a great opportunity to showcase our vibrant music scene for the country and make it known that Manitoba is actually way more cool than cold."

Dining rooms, lounges and hotel beverage rooms may apply to operate as cabaret live entertainment venues during the week of the Junos, March 24 to 30.  The following conditions will apply to these operators:

  • two hours of live musical entertainment by paid performers may be provided each evening; As a result of recent reforms, DJs mixing original music now qualify;
  • food service is not required with liquor service but must be available;
  • the special permit will be effective beginning at 8 p.m. each evening; and
  • the special permits will be offered free of charge.

In addition, during Junos week, all licensees, including existing cabarets and legions, will have the option to serve liquor until 3 a.m. and beer vendors will be permitted to sell until 3:30 a.m.  Licensees do not need to apply to operate for these extended hours.

"Manitoba offers some of the finest, unique dining experiences anywhere in Canada. When national and international events take place in Manitoba it allows us to share our great cuisine with visitors. Restaurants are a dynamic part of the hospitality industry in Manitoba and we welcome this chance to participate directly in major musical events like the Junos week and the Year of Music," said Scott Jocelyn, executive director, Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

"We applaud this step by the province to reduce red tape and enhance options for our consumers. The opportunity and flexibility to act as small venues for local and national musical talent can only enrich the experience we offer our customers," said Dwayne Marling, vice-president, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

"Manitoba hotels do more than just provide accommodation; we are the front-line hosts for welcoming visitors to our province. This extra flexibility in the liquor law will help hotels enhance the experience of visitors and Manitobans during Junos week and the Year of Music," said Jim Baker, president and CEO, Manitoba Hotel Association.

The special permits for Junos week will be issued by the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) in anticipation of the formation of the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba later this year. Following the Junos, it is expected the new Liquor and Gaming Authority will offer a program of similar authorizations for the rest of 2014 including for festivals around the Western Canada Music Awards and Aboriginal Peoples Choices Awards.

Effective Jan. 1, liquor laws were changed to encourage small, live music venues including removing the requirement that cabarets have a capacity of 200 persons or larger and removing the rule that prohibits a performance of original mixed music by a OJ from being considered live entertainment.

There are about 4,000 music entrepreneurs and 368 music companies in Manitoba.  According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by Manitoba Music, the industry generated a total GOP impact of $71.3 million supporting the equivalent of 4,363 jobs.  The Juno Awards alone are expected to contribute $10 million to the Manitoba economy and create the equivalent of 80 full-time jobs, the minister said.

It is expected the new Liquor and Gaming Control Act will be proclaimed into law on April 1. The new act is the first major overhaul of liquor legislation in 60 years and was based on a series of public consultations held in 2012 and 2013.

Manitoba s new liquor laws also include the establishment of the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Act, which merges the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and Manitoba Lotteries Corporation to become the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation. This legislation is also expected to be proclaimed April 1.

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