Since January 1, 2009, the AGCO has used monetary penalties as an additional compliance tool for licensees and registrants who have contravened the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), the Gaming Control Act, 1992 (GCA) and their Regulations. A monetary penalty is a financial consequence where the licensee/registrant pays a defined amount as a result of a contravention of the GCA and/or LLA. The introduction of monetary penalties is one component towards achieving compliance and also brings Ontario in line with the majority of other Canadian jurisdictions, which have some form of monetary penalty system.
How monetary penalties affect licensees and registrants
The primary purpose of monetary penalties is to act as a bridge between a simple warning and a suspension of a licence or registration, and to provide the AGCO with an added compliance tool for working with licensees and registrants before a significant suspension or revocation may be necessary.
In other words, monetary penalties are designed to promote compliance so that the suspension or revocation of a licence or registration does not become a necessary measure. Monetary penalties, however, will not replace the ability to suspend or revoke a licence or a registration where the situation warrants, but will instead complement other compliance tools available to the AGCO.
Not all types of infractions are subject to a monetary penalty. Some serious offences under the LLA are only subject to suspension or revocation such as serving intoxicated patrons, serving minors and permitting narcotics. Monetary penalties are also not likely to be used in cases where repeated or very serious violations of any kind have occurred. Again, in these cases, a suspension or revocation would more likely be proposed.
Monetary penalties are specifically geared to the circumstances of offence
The Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming (the Registrar) looks at each case individually and considers the following criteria, if relevant, when deciding whether or not to impose a monetary penalty:
- Is the monetary penalty likely to help ensure future compliance by the licensee or registrant?
- What is the disciplinary history of the licensee or registrant, such as prior written warnings, conditions or terms, monetary penalties, suspensions, revocations and/or prosecutions?
- How was the contravention discovered or disclosed?
- Did the contravention involve actual or potential injury or loss to persons, property, or both?
- What is the type, size and location of the licensee, registrant or registered business?
- Are there any mitigating circumstances, including a good compliance history?
- Is there a need for general or specific deterrence?
Monetary penalties as an additional tool to promote compliance with the law
With the introduction of monetary penalties, the types of compliance tools available to the Registrar to deal with contraventions of the LLA and GCA and their Regulations now include:
- Verbal warning;
- Written warning;
- Monetary penalty;
- Increased monetary penalty;
- Additional licence conditions/terms of registration, including through Risk-Based Licensing;
- Suspension of licence or registration;
- Increased suspension of licence or registration;
- Revocation of licence or registration.
In other words, monetary penalties can be selected from a series of escalating regulatory options available - ranging from warnings to revocations – in order to gain compliance.
The schedules of monetary penalties that have been established by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (the Board) and approved by the Minister can be viewed below.
The ranges of monetary penalties are designed to address the specific risks posed by each infraction and by the various industries regulated by the AGCO. It is important to note that what are listed in the schedules are maximums only and that most penalties assessed will actually fall lower in the potential range, based on individual circumstances.
The AGCO is required to use funds collected through monetary penalties exclusively for education and training programs for licensees, permit holders and registrants, as well as for public awareness campaigns, which will further promote compliance with the law in the future.
For any further questions related to monetary penalties, please see our
Monetary Penalties FAQs
AGCO Board Guidelines - Monetary Penalties
(Made pursuant to section 4 of the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996 for the imposition of monetary penalties established pursuant to section 14.1 of the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996)
Monetary penalties provide the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming with a tool to support a compliance-based regulatory regime. To ensure transparency and fairness, the Board articulates the following factors for consideration by the Registrar when exercising his discretion to impose this form of discipline on a licensee or permit holder under the Liquor Licence Act or a registrant under the Gaming Control Act.
Decision to Impose a Monetary Penalty
When deciding whether to impose a monetary penalty rather than some other form of discipline on a licensee, permit holder, or registrant, the Registrar shall have regard and give appropriate weight to the following non-exhaustive list of factors:
- The monetary penalty´s potential effectiveness in ensuring future compliance by the licensee, permit holder or registrant;
- The discipline history of the licensee, permit holder or registrant, such as prior written warning, conditions or terms, monetary penalties, suspensions, revocations and/or prosecutions;
- The manner in which the contravention was discovered or disclosed;
- Whether the contravention involved actual or potential injury or loss to persons, property, or both;
- The type, size and location of the licensee, permit holder, registrant or registered business, where relevant;
- Any mitigating circumstances, including compliance history; and,
- The need for general or specific deterrence.