A Special Occasion Permit (SOP) is required any time alcohol is offered for sale or served anywhere other than in a licensed establishment or a private place (for example, a corporate boardroom or a residence). SOPs are issued for occasional special events only, and not to operate an ongoing business.
The Government of Ontario has made several amendments to Regulation 389/91 under the Liquor Licence Act, which governs the Special Occasion Permit program and are effective as of July 1, 2012. These changes are intended to:
- Remove unnecessary barriers for special events
- Simplify the application process
- Provide flexibility to permit holders
- Improve tourism and local economies
- Expand enforcement options against permit holders who violate Ontario’s liquor laws
The changes are complemented by compliance provisions that ensure that alcohol continues to be sold and served responsibly. These include the ability of the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming (Registrar) to add conditions to an SOP to mitigate identified risks to public safety and the public interest, and to assess monetary penalties for certain infractions.
Regulatory amendments under the Liquor Licence Act, effective July 1, 2012
Special Occassion Permit FAQs
Responsible Service Tip Sheets - Special Occasion Permit Event Types
Brochures - Special Occasion Permit Event Types