How to Apply for a Liquor Service Licence
Type of Licence
Have you determined what type of liquor service licence that you want? Click here to explore the categories of liquor service licences.
- an individual, a partnership or corporation authorized to do business in Manitoba; and
- the owner of the business and have a ‘valid interest’ in the property where the establishment will be located (i.e., owning or have a lease on the property)?
Liquor licences cannot be transferred. Anyone wanting a new licence, buying a business that previously held a licence, adding another licence, must apply for a new liquor licence.
Allow up to six weeks to process a liquor licence application for a premises that has not previously had a liquor licence. The time required to process a liquor licence varies based on a number of factors. This time frame may be shorter if the premises being licensed was licensed in the past year.
If you want to make sure that your licence is processed as quickly as possible, confirm the information you are providing is complete and accurate, and that you provide all requested documentation in a timely manner.
Processing times may be affected by:
- time required to obtain necessary municipal, provincial or federal approvals
- further investigation of any of the information provided is required
- public objections to the application
While you are waiting for your liquor licence to be approved, you can be open but no liquor can be kept on the premises or sold or served until the premises is licensed.
Anyone interested in holding a liquor licence should contact the LGCA's Commercial Licensing department before applying for a liquor licence. Since the application fee is non-refundable, this helps to make sure that you are eligible and applying for the best licence for your business.
The LGCA will require certain basic information in order to forward an application, including:
- your name, address and phone number;
- the location of premises the licence application is being applied for; and
- the type of business and type of liquor licence you are interested in obtaining.
A formal application will then be sent to you, most often by email. The information required to process the application will vary based on factors such as the type of licence being applied for; whether the premises have been previously licensed; or whether you currently hold another liquor or gaming licence.
Along with the application, you will also receive a list of items required by the LGCA. This may include:
- how the business will be owned (such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation)
- interest the applicant has in the premises (owned or leased)
- your authorization for the LGCA to conduct all necessary background investigations including a criminal record check and credit check
- a non-refundable $500 application fee
Once you return the application, required documents, and non-refundable $500 application fee, the LGCA will review the information provided and conduct a background investigation to determine if you are suitable to hold a liquor licence. If we determine that you meet our standards, you will move onto step two which determines whether the premises meets our standards.
The LGCA does a background check to review the background of a licence applicant and the applicant’s principals to determine their suitability to hold a liquor licence. The background investigation may include, but is not limited to:
- a criminal records check
- a credit check
The applicant’s principals include:
- all officers and directors if the applicant is a corporation
- all partners, including general partners of a limited partnership, when the applicant is a partnership
- all persons directing the affairs of an association of persons, or any other organization
Having a criminal record, driving infraction or poor credit does not automatically mean that an application will be turned down. The LGCA will look carefully at the circumstances of each case including the circumstances of any record, type of convictions, and length of time since last conviction as they relate to the responsibilities of holding a liquor licence.
To make sure that your premises are suitable, a licensing advisor or other member of the LGCA staff will contact you to either arrange a visit to the premises, or discuss the proposal in person in the LGCA offices or over the phone. Information will be reviewed to determine if the premises is suitable for the type of licence being requested.
If we believe the premises will be suitable for the requested licence type, you may be required to provide the public with notice of the proposed licensed premises. The LGCA will provide:
- Advertising notice form
- Notice poster(s) if public notice is required
A public notice is to advise the community of the licence application and sets out the time in which the public can get more information on the proposed premises and file an objection.
If public notice is required:
- A notice poster(s), provided by the LGCA, must be set up at the site of the proposed licensed premises. We provide information that specifies the posting dates and location.
- An advertising notice must be placed in the local newspaper. We provide instructions on how to do this.
If you apply for new service licences, manufacturer’s licences, patios, and some retail licences and endorsements, you will be required to post public notice. If the premises has never been licensed, or you apply for a different type of licence than what was held at that location during the past year, you will also need to post public notice. You are responsible for all costs associated with advertising.
If you are purchasing or leasing a premises that is currently licensed or had the same type of licence within the past year, no public notice is required.
A notice poster must remain posted at the premises for 14 days to provide time for objections. You must consider the posting and objection times when calculating the time it will take to obtain a liquor licence. If an objection is raised, the 6 week processing time estimate may get extended.
Any person objecting to the issuance of a liquor licence is required to contact the LGCA. The LGCA will then review the objections; talk to all objectors; and attempt to solve the objector’s concerns. This may result in the LGCA placing specific terms and conditions on your liquor licence.
Either you or the objector can appeal the decision of the executive director of the LGCA or the terms and conditions imposed. An appeal would then be heard by the LGCA board. The liquor licence processing time may be extended if an appeal occurs.
Before we can issue the licence, you must submit all final required documents and have met all requirements.
Municipal, Provincial and Federal Requirements
All liquor licence holders, the same as all business owners in Manitoba, must comply with the legislation relevant to their business. These include all relevant municipal, provincial and federal laws. The Commercial Licensing department will discuss any requirements that must be completed in order to receive the liquor licence applied for.
It is then your responsibility to ensure that these requirements are met in order to receive the liquor licence that you applied for, and you must consider the time it will take to meet these requirements in order to receive a liquor licence. These requirements will include:
- Municipal zoning approval
- Relevant occupancy and fire safety approvals
- Municipal/provincial health approval
Responsible Service Training
In Manitoba, the successful completion of responsible service training is a requirement for all persons involved in the sale and service of liquor. Licensees serving or retailing liquor must ensure that all staff, including security and managers have successfully completed responsible service training prior to the start of employment in a licensed premises.
The LGCA offers the required training through its Smart Choices training program.
We conduct a licensing seminar with you to review a variety of information including information on renewing a liquor licence; responsible service; available posters and signage and the role of LGCA inspectors. This seminar may be held at the premises if the licensing advisor is conducting a final inspection or at the LGCA offices.
If a final inspection of the premises is required the licensing advisor will arrange a time to conduct a final inspection to ensure all requirements have been met. Other government regulatory agencies responsible for fire, health and building may also be conducting final inspections.
Receiving the Liquor Licence
We will let you know when your liquor licence is ready. You will receive the liquor licence and any terms and conditions that apply to that licence. You must follow all terms and conditions of the liquor licence. Once we issue the licence, we also send this information to Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries to set you up as a Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries customer. After you have your licence, you can then arrange to receive liquor at the premises and begin selling liquor.
Note: You must make your own arrangements for liquor orders through Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries or a specialty wine store.
Holding a Liquor Licence
The liquor licence may be valid for a period of up to five years but you will be required to update paperwork and pay a licence fee annually. You can make arrangements to pay for these annual fees by setting up an electronic funds transfer account. We will send you a review form on an annual basis approximately one month before the required form and fee are due.
Once a liquor licence expires, you will be required to renew your licence. We will send you a renewal form approximately six weeks prior to the due date for the renewal and fee.
Once a premises is licensed you will be assigned an inspector who will be available to answer any licensing questions on an ongoing basis. The inspector will conduct inspections of the premises and offer ongoing training or training you request.
It is your responsibility to notify the LGCA if major renovations are made to the premises, if there is a change to the partners or officers of the corporation, or if you intend to close your premises. Liquor licences are not transferable and become void when ownership changes.
Contact us at 204-927-5300 or toll-free at 1-800-782-0363 with any questions about liquor service licences.