MB Government Reintroduces Bill That Would Modernize Liquor Service Licensing

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The Manitoba government is reintroducing a bill that would amend the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act to streamline the framework for liquor service licences to provide Manitoba’s hospitality industry with more flexibility to address consumer preference, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“These amendments would reduce the number of licence categories, allowing for new business models and providing hotels, restaurants and other hospitality-based businesses more opportunities to innovate,” said Goertzen. “The current regulatory framework is overly complex and limits the type of new service models that entrepreneurs want to offer Manitobans while still ensuring the safe service of alcohol.”

The bill, first introduced in the spring, would modernize the liquor licensing process and reduce red tape and regulatory burdens through regulation, helping the hospitality industry rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and current inflationary challenges. The bill would extend the ability to sell liquor with takeout and delivery food orders and make it easier for service models such as wine bars, seasonal and pop-up businesses to obtain licences, the minister noted.

“We heard from the hospitality industry that the current model created barriers to entry and inequalities between industry participants. They asked for more flexibility with the regulatory framework to allow for new and evolving business and service models,” said Goertzen. “These changes would allow more seasonal or temporary businesses, while still ensuring the responsible service of liquor.”

“We’re happy the provincial government is once again taking action to level the playing field to create opportunities for the foodservice industry to recover and grow,” said Scot McTaggart, owner, Fusion Grill and director, Restaurants Canada Manitoba. “Restaurants Canada applauds the government for modernizing the licensing framework focusing on the safe service of alcohol and creating a market where the entrepreneurial spirit can thrive.”

In 2021, the Manitoba government passed amendments to allow for the delivery of liquor with takeout and delivery of food orders by dining rooms and lounges. These changes, supported by industry and driven by changing consumer demand, became especially significant as the COVID-19 pandemic changed how Manitoba’s hospitality industry operated. The bill would build on that legislative reform, expanding the program to give all liquor service licensees, not just dining rooms and lounges, the option to sell liquor with takeout and delivery.