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Liquor License Applications Finally Available Online For Parties And Festivals

No More Beer Gardens At Family-Friendly Festivals In Vancouver

Liquor licensing for special events is moving online, beginning with a pilot program in Vancouver and Burnaby, as government continues cutting red tape for British Columbians.

The pilot, which launches on Feb. 2, will test a new online application process designed to increase convenience and speed up approvals for small, low-risk events. During the pilot, applicants hosting events in Vancouver or Burnaby will be able to skip the paper application and can apply for a Special Occasion Licence (SOL) on their computer or mobile device – they will no longer have to visit a BC Liquor Store multiple times, or make trips to police stations and municipal halls.

The online application will also enhance public safety by providing officials with information in real-time about events happening in their communities – as police and liquor inspectors will be able to run searches from their office or mobile devices.

The goal is to have any bugs worked out and the online system fully implemented starting in early April – in time for B.C.’s busy festival season.

Once the website is fully implemented, moving to an online system will save over 100,000 pieces of paper each year – the only paper involved will be the printed, approved licence that needs to be in plain view during events.

B.C.’s government processes up to 25,000 SOLs every year – from small weddings, club meetings and fundraisers to sports tournaments, music festivals, and food and beverage events – many of which can be approved immediately once the new online system is fully operational.

Larger festivals will be able to use one online application and pay one fee for an event that covers multiple locations, rather than having to submit multiple applications and fees. To ensure continued public safety, large-scale events will still be required to submit a site security plan, and will be able to do so online.

One of the first larger festivals to switch to the online application system will be the Vancouver International Wine Festival – a multi-day, multi-location event that attracts some of the biggest industry names from around the world. The festival, which raises funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society, will be an integral participant in the pilot.

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