Last month, the LCLB released an Industry Consultation Document requesting input regarding Liquor Policy Review Recommendations 37 and 38.

We need your help in voicing the interests of the arts and culture industry by Friday, May 13, 2016. It is important for industry stakeholders to voice their opinions about these upcoming changes. All submissions should be sent via email and need to be specific to the questions asked in the Industry Consultation Document. Please see the bottom of this page for a step by step guide on what to do.


Recommendation 38 directly relates to creative spaces, like art galleries, that are currently barred from obtaining liquor licences. The recommendation and related questions are:

38. Food- or liquor-primary licences should be available to other types of businesses, allowing a range of new establishments (e.g., spas, cooking schools, and galleries) to offer liquor to their clientele as an additional service.

1.     Will the removal of the primary purpose restriction for LP’s meet the needs of businesses presently not eligible for licensing?

2.     Do you see any significant risks in removing the LP primary purpose restriction?

This issue has major implications on the financial sustainability and cultural vibrancy of the arts community. Art galleries, creative spaces, and arts organizations can benefit from favourable changes to liquor licensing. Below is a template detailing the major concerns. Remember to include your email address, name, and organization at the end of your email. Feel free to add anything we may have missed in your email!

Thank you for supporting British Columbia’s vibrant arts community. Your efforts will go a long way in improving our province’s culture and vitality.


What you can do:

1. Send an email to the following address and CC the Campaign for Culture, so we can make sure the Province has included your feedback.

To: [email protected]

Cc: [email protected]


2 .Set the subject line as shown below, and copy+paste the letter’s text into your email. Make sure to put your name and organization at the bottom of the letter. This is an industry consultation, so regular citizen input may not hold as much weight as the “industry”.

Subject: LPR 38


Dear Liquor Control and Licensing Branch:


A vibrant arts community is intrinsic to our society’s growth. It is important that creative spaces are given the flexibility to serve liquor legally and responsibly. Below are some thoughts regarding Liquor Policy Review Recommendation 38:


1.     Will the removal of the primary purpose restriction for LP’s meet the needs of businesses presently not eligible for licensing?


YES. The removal of the primary purpose restriction for LPs will meet the needs of creative spaces, because it supports a holistic financial model that can be relied on for sustainable growth.

Currently, creative spaces such as art galleries need to apply for Special Occasion Licences (SOLs) in order to hold events where liquor is served. These time limited licences can be onerous and costly, providing few benefits to the creative spaces that apply. Absent special authorization from the LCLB, creative spaces have to: adhere to price limitations that can make it difficult to raise sufficient funds for growth; hold three or fewer SOLs per month or less than 24 per year; and limit the hours of liquor service at their events. These restrictions are unnecessary and compromise the growth of the arts community.

Removing the primary purpose restriction will allow art galleries to:

·      Further support BC’s talented artists, both contemporary and emerging, through the proceeds raised from liquor sales;

·      Service a wide range of patrons by offering greater product choice;

·      Responsibly serve liquor without being hampered by SOL restrictions;

·      Increase social interaction and creativity.


Supporting creative spaces should be a priority for the Province. This measure will cultivate a more vibrant arts community in British Columbia.


2.     Do you see any significant risks in removing the LP primary purpose restriction?


NO. Removing the LP primary purpose restriction will mitigate risks, because creative spaces will be governed by legal frameworks that are reasonable and fair. Instead of considering options to circumvent the law, creative spaces will reap significant financial and social benefits by adhering to responsible, legal guidelines.

Establishments like art galleries will be permitted to host events and responsibly serve liquor to their clientele, which would create viable returns for reinvestment in the arts community. Taking on a liquor licence is a responsibility, and it would be up to the management and staff to ensure all regulations are followed. By fostering a safe drinking culture, these establishments will create inclusive spaces centred on creativity and growth.

The only risk of removing the LP primary purpose restriction is for establishments that are currently offered LP privileges. That is, the restrictions associated with the sale of liquor gives current LP holders disproportionate advantage. For the reasons stated above, this is unfair to cultural organizations that provide considerable benefits to society. Harmonizing standards will create an equal playing field, and this should be enshrined in the law.   


The Province can create a more vibrant cultural scene in British Columbia by addressing the concerns of the arts community. These sensible reforms are an important step in the growth of our province. I look forward to seeing positive changes as a result of this policy change.




(Your Name)




3. Thanks—follow us on facebook or twitter to stay in the loop with future developments to BC’s liquor laws.