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Checklist: How to get a Special Occasion Permit (alcohol)

If you are planning an event with alcohol, think safety first. Remember, alcohol increases the risk of problems and dangerous behaviours that can harm guests, or worse. If you do plan to have alcohol on-site, you must obtain a Special Occasion Permit (SOP) from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO).

Application Process

  • Submit application: According to the ACGO, you must submit your permit application to a LCBO permit issuing store 30 days before the event takes place. The exception is indoor reception events, which require only 10 days notice.
  • Advise officials: For outdoor events, the permit holder must let the local municipality, police, fire and health departments know about the event in writing at least 30 days prior to the event. The building department must be notified as well if a tent or marquee is used.
  • Public event requirements: You must provide 30 days notice to the AGCO and the City (including clerk, police, fire and health departments) for events where fewer than 5,000 people are expected to attend. You must provide 60 days notice to the AGCO and the City for events where 5,000 or more people are expected to attend.
  • Licensed area: The licensed area must be clearly defined and separated from the unlicensed area by a 36" (0.9 metres) high separation.
  • Purchasing liquor: Once a SOP is issued, all liquor for the event must be purchased with the SOP at the LCBO, The Beer Store or any winery, brewery or distillery Store.
  • On-site requirements: Permit holders must keep the permit and receipts of all liquor purchases at the event and produce them for inspection, if asked.

You can find more information on the Special Occasion Permits, along with application forms and guide, on the AGCO’s website.

For more information on the permit application process, visit the City of Ottawa website.