New rules for liquor sales, and more, in Saskatchewan

The provincial government has made dozens of changes to its liquor laws.
Saskatchewan has changed dozens of rules relating to the sale and serving of liquor. (The Canadian Press)

The provincial government has made dozens of changes to its liquor laws, and released a list of those which are now in effect:

Among the new rules:

  • Movie theatres can sell alcohol in those parts of a theatre that are age-restricted.
  • Venues, such as a concert hall, may sell alcohol during televised or pre-recorded events (previously, liquor could only be served at live performances).
  • More off-sale locations based on seasonal demand.
  • Outdoor restaurants can apply to sell liquor.
  • Hotels may offer packages for overnight guests that include alcohol (for example, a hotel spa could offer an overnight stay with spa treatments and alcohol included in the price).
  • Allow places to promote packages that include alcohol for a single price (for example, a burger and a beer for $10 or a limo trip with a bottle of champagne for $100).
  • Increase flexibility for alcohol trade shows by allowing a single entry price to be charged that covers the cost of the alcohol samples.
  • Allow the serving of pre-mixed drinks.
  • Eased rules on how golf courses may serve alcohol.
  • Allowing sports stadiums to determine the number of drinks to be served to customers, the type of alcohol available and the types of containers used.
  • Eliminate requirement for sports stadiums to use disposable utensils and dishware when serving food to patrons.
  • Minors may be present at Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, as long as the premises is not adult-only.
  • No limit on the number of Texas Hold’em poker tournaments permitted can hold (currently limited to one/week).
  • Restaurants may host Texas Hold’em poker tournaments outside their hours of alcohol service as long as alcohol is not served.
  • Remove restrictions on the types of payment a permittee can use to purchase alcohol from SLGA, a franchise or off-sale.
  • Increase flexibility for restaurants by allowing banquet rooms to operate during any hours that alcohol may be legally sold, even if the restaurant area is closed. (Currently, banquet rooms are only allowed to operate during the hours that the restaurant is open).
  • Establish guidelines to allow permitted to offer "beer nights" while maintaining responsibilities to ensure customers are not over-served.
  • Allow special occasion permit holders to charge guests indirectly for alcohol (through the cost of the ticket) where the host is also selling alcohol to the guests.
  • Allow customers on tour buses and boats to self-serve alcohol (under the supervision of an employee other than the driver).
  • Allow limousine and tour bus operators to serve alcohol where passengers are transported between premises that are allowed to sell liquor.
  • Increase flexibility for bingo halls by allowing alcohol sales throughout the hall (currently, adult-only areas must be specified).

A number of changes are also now in place for U-Brew operations, including:

  • Allow u-brew operators to facilitate group batches of product.
  • Removing restrictions against customers topping up wine with spirits.
  • Removing a requirement to operate a retail store front and other requirements around the layout of u-brew.
  • Removing requirements for a minimum quality of furnishings and equipment.
  • Allowing a u-brew to determine their own policy with respect to customers reuse of commercial bottles and corks.

Also, a number of measures are in effect to simplify licence procedures, including:

  • Three year permits for commercial premises.
  • Coordinate SLGA reporting requirements for alcohol manufacturers with other government reporting requirements to minimize the number of forms and reports manufacturers must complete (such as excise tax).

And some general changes:

  • Clarify policies around the operation of patios and sidewalk cafes, including food service requirements, to ensure consistent and appropriate standards.
  • Amend the maximum hours for Daily Family Dining and Sunday Family Dining in taverns to 9:30 a.m. to midnight. (Amended after feedback from interested groups).
  • Expand licensing policy to allow the option to provide alcohol service in any part of a sports facilities, with the exception of the playing surface (e.g., ice in a hockey or curling rink) and subject to municipal approval.
  • Increase the amount of alcohol an individual can bring into Saskatchewan from another province for personal use. (The new limits are: four - 750 ml bottles of spirits; 12 - 750 ml bottles of wine; and  six dozen beer or coolers)