Application Process: Once you submit your Food-Primary licence application
Step One – Application Check
As soon as we receive your application, we will first make sure you have provided all the necessary information and documentation. If your application is incomplete, we will contact you about what is missing and request that you provide the missing information or documentation within 45 days or your application will be considered withdrawn and you will have to reapply at a later date and pay the application fees.
It is your responsibility to check with your local government/First Nation to ensure that all of their requirements are being met as well (see Local government or other approvals for more information). If you later discover you will not be able to operate your establishment, we cannot refund your application or licence fees.
If your application is not complete, we will return your application, and let you know what information or documentation is missing. You will have to resubmit it as a new application, minus the non-refundable application fee.
Step Two – Applicant Eligibility Assessment
Once your application is complete, our staff will then determine if you are eligible to hold a liquor licence. This will include verifying that you are a B.C. resident, Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, at least 19 years old, and that you have no ties to a UBrew/UVin, liquor manufacturer or independent agent. We will verify that you own the business and have valid interest in the property. We will also assess your suitability as a liquor licensee. This assessment includes conducting a criminal record check – see Criminal Record Search page for more information. If you have held a liquor licence before, we will review your history as a liquor licensee.
If everything is in order, we will send you a letter stating that you are eligible to hold a liquor licence, and request that you contact the local liquor inspector to arrange for, within the next thirty days, an inspection of your establishment, and if you are in the Lower Mainland, to attend an education session at either our Surrey or Vancouver office. If you are still in the midst of installing equipment, etc., and don’t anticipate being ready to open within thirty days, please contact the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch to request an extension.
For liquor licensing purposes, a restaurant is a business where the service of food, as opposed to liquor, is the primary focus of the business. A bar or lounge is the reverse: a business where the service of liquor, as opposed to food, is the primary focus of the business. The name of your restaurant must accurately reflect the service you provide.
- If you do not have a lounge endorsement, you may call your business a "pub-style restaurant" but may use the word "bar" only if it is associated with a type of food.
- For example "pasta bar" or "oyster bar" (but you may not highlight the words, as in "O'Malley's PUB-style Restaurant" or "Nico's Oyster BAR"). "Taverna" is also acceptable, because it means "eating house" in the original Greek, and you may call your establishment a "dining lounge" if yours is a formal restaurant, offering full-course meals.
If you have a lounge endorsement, you may use "lounge," "bar" or "cocktail bar" in your name provided you also include a reference to food - for example, "Bar and Grill" is acceptable, but just "Nico's Bar" is not.
Your signs may display the name of your restaurant, the kind of liquor you offer, your liquor prices and your hours of sale. If you have a restaurant lounge, you may also use the words “lounge”, “bar”, “cocktail lounge” or “cocktail bar”. Your signs must comply with local government bylaws.
Signs are considered advertising and must comply with the advertising terms and conditions outlined in Food-Primary Licence Terms and Conditions: A Guide for Liquor Licensees in British Columbia.
Step Three – Establishment Inspection and Applicant Interview
The following individuals must be present at the establishment inspection and, if you are in the Lower Mainland, to attend the education session:
- one of the shareholders (if you are a private corporation)
- one of the directors or officers (if you are a society or public company)
- all partners (if it is a partnership)
- the sole proprietor, or
- approved resident manager.
At the establishment inspection, your local liquor inspector will ask to see:
- one large copy of your restaurant’s floor plan, drawn to scale
- one smaller copy of your floor plan, reduced to 8 ½” X 11”, and
- copies of “Serving It Right” certificates.
Your floor plan:
- must have the occupant load – the number of people (patrons and staff) allowed in the establishment – marked on it by local fire or building officials (a separate occupant-load certificate is not sufficient), and
- should show the layout for your entire establishment, including furniture, washrooms, bar, kitchen, and any banquet rooms.
The inspector will review your floor plan to make sure actual construction reflects the plan and give you a copy of Food-Primary Licence Terms and Conditions: A Guide for Liquor Licensees in British Columbia. He or she will ask you to contact our Head Office to pay your first-year annual licence fee of $475.00.
Step Four - Final Assessment and Decision
We will do a final review to ensure there are no outstanding issues, and verify you have a Social Services or Provincial Sales Tax number, and Serving It Right certificate. If all is in order, we will then issue your licence.