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New Hospitality Strategy

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Province Introduces New Hospitality Strategy

Changes Would Balance Modernized Liquor Laws, Red Tape Reduction With Safety Enhancements, Underage Drinking Initiatives: Mackintosh

A four-pillar strategy to promote new hospitality opportunities in the province, such as brew pubs, Liquor Mart boutiques in grocery stores and the ability to bring your own wine (BYOW) to restaurants, with a crackdown on disorder and underage drinking, was unveiled today by Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh, minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act.

“The goal of this new strategy is to allow our province to be both socially progressive and socially responsible,” said Mackintosh. “It encourages economic development and provides Manitobans and visitors with the ability to enjoy social opportunities within a safe environment.

“We’ve built these changes on a platform of Canada’s toughest impaired driving laws. The result is a strategy that addresses the desire by Manitobans for more modern liquor laws, while enhancing safety initiatives within the hospitality industry.” The minister said the four pillars of the new strategy are new hospitality opportunities, greater public safety and well-being, underage drinking countermeasures, and red tape reduction.

A four-pillar strategy to promote new hospitality opportunities in the province, such as brew pubs, Liquor Mart boutiques in grocery stores and the ability to bring your own wine (BYOW) to restaurants, with a crackdown on disorder and underage drinking, was unveiled today by Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh, minister responsible for the Liquor Control Act.

“The goal of this new strategy is to allow our province to be both socially progressive and socially responsible,” said Mackintosh. “It encourages economic development and provides Manitobans and visitors with the ability to enjoy social opportunities within a safe environment. “We’ve built these changes on a platform of Canada’s toughest impaired driving laws. The result is a strategy that addresses the desire by Manitobans for more modern liquor laws, while enhancing

safety initiatives within the hospitality industry.” The minister said the four pillars of the new strategy are new hospitality opportunities, greater public safety and well-being, underage drinking countermeasures, and red tape reduction.

1. New hospitality opportunities

To address the changing social landscape in Manitoba and Canada, the following initiatives would enable:

  • Brew pubs with off-sales and sales through the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) Liquor Marts to ensure business viability;

  • up to 10 pilot, limited-selection MLCC Liquor Mart boutiques with a focus on Manitoba and Canadian products including up to five locations to be located within urban grocery stores;

  • a voluntary BYOW program for restaurants;

  • sales of coolers and ciders at select retail beer vendors;

  • incentives to help develop microbreweries, wineries and micro-distilleries including reduced product markups and promotional opportunities;

  • development incentives for beverage producer visitor centres including free-standing locations, reduced product markups to the producer and allowing for outdoor advertising to promote these centres;

  • expansion of optional service hours to 2 a.m. for socials, charity fundraisers and weddings for consistency with licensed establishments;

  • standardized Sunday night hours to 2 a.m. for cabarets and beverage rooms and 2:30 a.m. for beer vendors, unless disallowed by local bylaw;

  • the MLCC to authorize exceptions to reflect unique hospitality opportunities that do not fall under the current 11 classes of licence by amending the Food to Liquor Regulation;

  • Liquor Marts to sell barware, beverage publications and promotional merchandise for major sport and cultural events; and

  • enhanced product information and public interaction through an upgrading of the MLCC website.

“With modern liquor control rules unfolding across Canada and world-class attractions planned for Manitoba, such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the International Polar Bear Centre, our efforts will enhance Manitoba’s attractiveness as a progressive, hospitable and fun destination and a great place to live,” said Mackintosh.

2. Greater public safety and well-being

Recognizing the foundation of hospitality is to provide a safe environment, safety in licensed premises would be enhanced by the following initiatives:

  • hiring three new downtown Winnipeg liquor inspectors, adding to Canada’s best inspector-tolicensed-premises ratio, and establishing a new satellite inspections office to be located on Main Street by 2012;

  • introducing fines, among the toughest in Canada, for disorderly conduct;

  • placing more responsibility on bar owners for disorder outside of their premises and property including the immediate vicinity;

  • enabling liquor inspectors and police to immediately close a licensed premise for up to 12 hours when there is imminent risk to the public;

  • setting out in law existing mandatory responsible service training for bar owners, operators, bartenders and servers;

  • giving the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) the legal mandate to promote responsible alcohol consumption;

  • strengthening a fetal alcohol spectrum disorders public awareness campaign;

  • requiring the MLCC to conduct an impact analysis on the use of energy drinks as a mix with alcohol;

  • enabling Liquor Marts to sell socially responsible products such as 0.5 per cent alcohol and taxi-fare cards; and

  • installing portable defibrillators and providing staff training in all 50 liquor marts by early summer.

“These initiatives help to build a culture of moderation around alcohol consumption,” said Mackintosh. “Moreover, licensed premises must provide safe environments for patrons and the general public. The new initiatives proposed today supplement our strong impaired-driving strategy and realize historic new investments to address alcohol-abuse issues.”

3. Underage drinking countermeasures

The following initiatives are intended to counter underage drinking:

  • instituting a false identification (ID) crackdown:

    • young adults will be required to produce a driver’s licence or identity card from Manitoba Public Insurance or alternatively two additional pieces of ID, of one which one must be photo ID, by 2012;

    • the MLCC will work with licensees to implement technologies to identify false ID such as verification scanners; and

    • providing ID to a minor would become an offence under the Liquor Control Act; and

  • prohibiting possession of alcohol by a minor, not just consumption, in a licensed premise and at occasional permit events;

  • automatically having every act violation involving underage drinking in a licensed premise would result in a licensing board hearing;

  • registering all beer kegs to easily identify the purchaser in situations involving minors;

  • having the MLCC phase in a strategy to deal with excessively high alcohol content beverages;

  • enhancing awareness of Be the Influence – Manitoba’s leading-edge campaign for parent engagement and responsibility;

  • providing a new school-based awareness and initiatives program through Manitoba Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors; and

  • facilitating discussion between MADD Canada and school boards to promote dry grad initiatives.

“These initiatives build on the introduction last May of Canada’s highest fines for underage alcohol purchases,” said Mackintosh. “We know that children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependencies later in life. When we hear that 20 per cent of Grade 9 students report they got drunk at least once in the previous month, we all have our work cut out for us.”

4. Red tape reduction

A modernized act would also see the elimination of unnecessary red tape by:

  • allowing convenient, online social permit applications by 2012;

  • providing multi-year liquor licensing;

  • supplying pro-rated liquor licence fees;

  • legislating pro-rated liquor licence fees;

  • streamlining the liquor licence application process;

  • improving rules to reflect the shift from owner-run premises to franchises and chain outlets;

  • amending the Food to Liquor Regulation to:

    • ​address exemptions where the ratio does not reflect the volume of liquor sold; and

    • replace the quarterly requirement for licensees to submit food to liquor reports with spot checks, complaint investigations and licensee record maintenance; and

  • ​transferring licensing responsibility from cabinet to the MLCC for liquor stores and licensed premises in areas without municipal governments, such as northern communities and parks;

  • amending the advertising regulation to allow exceptions to outdoor advertising rules to accommodate licensee promotional needs; and

  • providing an MLCC Internet portal for commercial business partners to streamline business activities.

“The MLCC began the process of reducing red tape last year with the introduction of a simplified occasional permit fee structure that not only simplified the process for permit events, it provided savings to many event organizations,” said Mackintosh. “These initiatives to reduce red tape, build on these past efforts and provide greater efficiencies for licensed premises.”

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Company:

Heritage Liquor (MLCC)

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