June 30, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

We hope you have a happy, safe, and profitable Canada Day tomorrow. Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:

  • Recap of last week’s updates
  • COVID-19 Resources: Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices and more
  • Conversion of Independent Wine Stores to Licensee Retail Stores
  • New Policy Directive: Dormant liquor licenses, prescribed circumstances for extension to dormancy
  • LDB Wholesale Update: Limited Bottle Pick Service Expands
  • Provincial Health Officer Public Order clarification: 50 patrons at events
  • City of Abbotsford Update: Patio Permitting
  • Destination BC Summer Campaign
  • Sugar Tax Update: policy change delayed

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

As always, if you have any additional questions or need to reach us you can email: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Recap of last week’s updates

Here’s what you may have missed from ABLE BC last week:

Update on June 23:

  • Updated Provincial Health Officer Order for Liquor and Food Primaries
  • Important Update: Hospitality Insurance Program
  • Clarification: Hospitality Pricing Discount
  • Hospitality Pricing: send your thanks to the Attorney General
  • LDB Extension of P5 price change submission deadline
  • COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit
  • BC Hospitality Foundation Online Auction

Update on June 25:

  • Temporary layoff provisions extended to August 30, 2020
  • BC Enters Phase 3 of Restart Plan
  • New BC Economic Stabilization Act
  • City of Victoria announces open air recovery plan
  • City of Vancouver Public Hearing on June 30: patios on private property
  • City of Vancouver passes motion for legal alcohol consumption in some public areas
  • BC Restart and Recovery Survey and Virtual Town Halls
  • Small Business BC PPE Marketplace
  • Eco Sanitizer: hand gel and more

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

COVID-19 Resources: Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices and more

ABLE BC is here to help your liquor business as we move into a post-COVID-19 world.

Since the global outbreak, ABLE BC has been closely monitoring developments related to COVID. We’ve been working hard to ensure our industry has all the necessary information to safely operate and survive this crisis.

Visit our COVID-19 page for resources, templates, and signage to support your business during this time. You’ll also find our newly updated Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices Handbook.

Download the handbook here.

Conversion of Independent Wine Stores to Licensee Retail Stores

Yesterday, government announced they are amending regulations to allow BC’s 11 Independent Wine Stores to convert their license type to sell beer, cider, and distilled products in their current locations.

Historically, IWSs were established to promote wine sales in the province and license holders were restricted to selling wine only. In exchange for the sales restriction, IWS operators received a 30% discount on their purchases (whereas LRSs received a 16% discount).

With the introduction of the new wholesale pricing model in 2015, the previous government eliminated the IWS 30% discount. IWSs were given the option to sell other products by converting into full-service liquor stores. However, the policy change required that if they converted, the store could not be located within 1 km of an existing public or private liquor store. As a result, only one IWS converted.

This new rule amendment allows the remaining IWS locations to convert to a full-service liquor store without having to relocate 1 km away from other liquor stores so long as they remain at their current location. If an IWS chooses to move after converting its license type or as part of the process converting, it will be subject to the 1 km rule.

We are not yet sure how many IWS will convert – though it is likely most will. The policy change could impact up to 25 liquor stores who are within 1 km of an IWS.

Although ABLE BC did not advocate for this policy change specifically, it was one of the many balanced recommendations advanced by the Business Technical Advisory Panel. The panel felt this was an appropriate fix to the issue with IWSs being disproportionately impacted by the wholesale pricing model, which effectively cut their margins in half.

There are still other matters in front of the BTAP and being considered by government that would positively support liquor stores, such as licensee sales.

ABLE BC is also actively advocating to extend the moratorium on new LRS licenses by an additional 10 years to give the business certainty and investment protection you need. The moratorium is currently set to expire in July 2022.

In yesterday’s news release, it was also reiterated: “Government is not considering revisions to the one-kilometre distance requirement for any other retail licence types and will not be increasing the number of retail liquor licences in the province.” We interpret these as positive signals that government is hearing our concerns and will continue working with us in the days ahead.

For more information:

If oyu have any other questions or concerns, please contact Jeff: 

New Policy Directive: Dormant liquor licenses, prescribed circumstances for extension to dormancy

On June 29, the LCRB released Policy Directive 20-17: Dormant liquor licenses, prescribed circumstances for extension to dormancy.

Download the new policy here

Under the former policy, the general manager of the LCRB must cancel a licence if, in the general manager’s opinion, a licence is dormant because a licensee has not operated the establishment that is the subject of the licensee’s licence for a period of two years. The requirement to cancel a licence that has been dormant for two years is subject to certain circumstances prescribed in the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation.

With the implementation of Policy Directive 20-17, a new prescribed circumstance has been added to the LCLR. The general manager is not required to cancel a licence that has been dormant for 2 years or more if the general manager is satisfied that:

  1. The licensee was prevented from operating the establishment at the beginning of or during the dormancy period for reasons beyond the licensee’s control,
  2. The reasons are not described by other prescribed circumstances, and
  3. The operations in the establishment restart as soon as practicable after the licensee is no longer prevented from operating the establishment because of those reasons.

All other existing prescribed circumstances remain unchanged. For more information, please read the Policy Directive.

LDB Wholesale Update: Limited Bottle Pick Service Expands

LDB Wholesale has shared with us the following update:

LDB Wholesale Operations will expand bottle pick service for an additional selection of SKUs.

Bottle pick service for high demand SKUs was expanded last month, and another 55 selections will be available for bottle pick, effective immediately. These 55 products reflect the next top-selling SKUs and were chosen in an effort to support liquor retailers and hospitality customers while ensuring orders will be picked, assembled and shipped on time.

The complete list of all available bottle pick products is located on the Wholesale Operations Website.

Please note that the 10% bottle pick rule – as applicable to specific customer types, and outlined in the WCC Order Handbook – will continue to apply.  

Our partnerships are very important to us, and we are committed to working with all our customers to support their operations. 

We thank you for your patience as we work to deliver the services and products our mutual customers rely on.

Provincial Health Officer Public Order clarification: 50 patrons at events

We have received a number of questions about the number of patrons allowed at an event and if that number includes staff.

The latest Provincial Health Officer public order (dated June 19, 2020) states the following: there must be no more than fifty patrons present in total on the premises, even if this number is less than the maximum number of patrons permitted on the premises under the safety plan.

Based on this wording, the 50 person limit does not include staff.

As a reminder, events are defined as: anything which gathers people together, whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis, including a ceremony or celebration of any type, reception, musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance, art show, magic show, puppet show, fashion show, book signing, reading, recitation, display, movie, film, dancing, singing, meeting, lecture, talk, educational session, auction, fund raising benefit, contest, quiz, game, rally, festival, presentation, demonstration, or sporting or other physical display, but does not include background music.

For more information, please read the public order for food service establishments and liquor services.

The public order on mass gathering events provides similar wording and can be found here.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

City of Abbotsford Update: Patio Permitting

As you may recall, earlier this spring ABLE BC and our industry partners contacted all municipalities in the province and asked that they provide flexible, innovative, and expedited patio permitting to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

In May, the provincial government announced a temporary authorization to expand service areas, such as patios. However, licensees must comply with all local bylaws and liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees must also receive the approval of their local government.

We recently shared positive news about the City of Victoria’s Open Air Recovery Plan and the City of Vancouver’s plans to waive permit fees for temporary patios and allow temporary outdoor patios on private property.

On June 25, our Executive Director received the following response from Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun on patio permitting:

Thank you for your correspondence to Council regarding expedited temporary outdoor patio permits. This is something that Council is very much in support of.  

In aligning with the Province of British Columbia’s RestartBC plan, City Council has taken action to support local businesses by temporarily amending City of Abbotsford’s Outdoor Special Event, Filming and Activities Bylaw No 2513-2016, to support permitting food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries with the expansion of service areas to support physical distancing requirements.  

An outdoor patio permit will allow restaurants and cafes to use outdoor space (private or public space) such as a sidewalk, road, or off-street parking or loading space, for a temporary period of time.  

The City of Abbotsford is committed to supporting businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 by providing a simple and streamlined way to increase outdoor patio area on a temporary basis. In addition, Council has decided to allow pre-approval to cover all liquor primary and manufacturing establishments within our jurisdiction who may apply for an expanded service area.  

More information regarding the City’s process and FAQ is found here.

Destination BC Summer Campaign

In alignment with Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, Destination BC will be launching a new chapter of its successful Explore BC campaign: an extensive domestic marketing campaign encouraging BC residents to plan and book their trips for travel throughout the province. This will be followed by a campaign to encourage and promote travel from Alberta and other parts of Canada.

The campaign is designed to promote safe travel practices, re-ignite BC’s tourism industry revenue, promote BC tourism businesses and destinations, and rekindle British Columbians’ curiosity and passion for the place they live. 

In addition to trip planning, inspiration and booking assistance, Destination BC will utilize its channels to help BC residents understand what’s open and what they need to know before they go, including responsible traveller behaviour.

To help you support our collective voice in the campaign, Destination BC has created an Explore BC Recovery Marketing Campaign Industry Playbook to provide tourism partners with information, ideas, and tools to amplify Explore BC using three content pillars: Rediscover, Re-assure, Reconnect. 

Destination BC encourages everyone to learn more about their campaign in their June 25 industry call recording, when Maya Lange, Destination BC’s VP of Global Marketing, joined to discuss the details.

For more information on safe travel within BC: 

Sugar Tax Update: policy change delayed

In February, the BC government introduced a tax on carbonated sugary beverages. 

Under the new policy, the BC provincial sales tax (PST) at a rate of 7% will be expanded to include all carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners.

This new policy will eliminate the current PST exemptions for food products for human consumption that are also applied to sugary soda drinks.

This was due to come into effect on July 1, 2020; however, it is now delayed and a new implementation date has not yet been announced.

For more information:

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

Updates and Resources from WorkSafeBC

Updates and Resources from ABLE BC

Human Resources & Occupational Health & Safety Info from go2HR

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:604-688-5560 or info@ablebc.ca.

Join the fight! Become a member today.


Our Partners