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What We Do: Alcohol

Training for Servers - Smart Serve®

Mandatory Server Training

All managers, licensed security personnel and employees handling liquor must complete a server training course approved by the AGCO (Smart Serve). All new employees have 60 days from their start of employment to obtain the certification. Staff should carry a copy of their certification card while they are working. An AGCO Inspector may ask to see any staff member’s certification.

The Smart Serve® Training Program has been developed by Smart Serve® Ontario, a division of the Hospitality Industry Training Organization of Ontario (HITOO), and endorsed by the AGCO. Smart Serve® training is mandatory for the following individuals:

  • New liquor sales licence holders, including new licence applicants, licence transfer applicants and temporary transfer applicants intending to operate an establishment. In addition to licence holders, all managers, servers of beverage alcohol and security staff must hold Smart Serve® certificates.
  • Stadium licensees, their managers, servers and security staff
  • Course marshals and employees dispensing liquor from vending carts on golf courses that hold a Golf Course Endorsement
  • Holders of Caterer's Endorsements and servers and security staff working at catered events
  • Where ordered by the AGCO (i.e. disciplinary cases)

Please note that the AGCO still recognizes The Server Intervention Program certification issued prior to May 1995.

What is Smart Serve®?

Smart Serve is a technology-based program for responsible beverage alcohol service. It teaches servers to prevent alcohol-related problems, and shows them how to intervene if problems do occur. The course covers such topics as the effects of alcohol, responsible serving techniques, legal issues, and house policies.

Licensees benefit from the course in a number of ways:

  • reduced risk of liability
  • possible insurance savings
  • promotion of public safety
  • reduces staff turnover
  • enhanced professionalism and improved hospitality service
  • increased profitability (servers learn to market food, premium brands, low and non-alcoholic drinks)
  • prevention of excessive consumption by patrons
  • lower compliance and enforcement costs

The Smart Serve® Training Program is available on video or on the Smart Serve® website at For more information about the Smart Serve® Training Program, please contact:

Smart Serve Ontario
5407 Eglinton Avenue West
Unit 105
Toronto, ON M9C 5K6

Tel. 416-695-8737
Toll-Free 1-877-620-6082
Fax 416-695-0684