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Bars and restaurants: several victories and more to come!

We’re working hard to make life easier for restaurant and bar owners. The laws that apply to your industry are well overdue for an update. The good news is that we’ve convinced the government to take action! The recent modernization of alcohol permits is just one example of what we’ve accomplished so far, but there is still work to be done.

Restaurant no-shows: a bad habit that needs to be broken
No-shows are common in the restaurant industry: a customer reserves a table in your restaurant, but fails to show up. This bad habit has turned into a costly problem, so we took the issue on and are pushing the government to allow restaurants to charge a no-show fee.

Our actions

  • Using the opportunity presented by the reopening of the Consumer Protection Act, we asked the government to allow restaurants to charge cancellation fees to customers who don’t show up, as is common practice in other industries, like hospitality. Read the letter (in French) we sent  to ministers involved in the process and watch us discuss these recommendations at committee (in French): 

  • We are pushing for the end of no-shows  through our presence on the Comité consultatif sur le commerce de détail established by the Office de la protection du consommateur.
  • In our pre-budget requests (in French), we once again called for the end of no-shows.

A welcome modernization of alcohol permits
Thanks to our advocacy work, in February 2018 the government introduced Bill 170, which contains several measures intended to streamline the alcohol permit system. The bill was adopted on June 12, 2018.

A few provisions that are relevant to you:

Beginning on July 1, 2018:

  • If accompanied by a parent, minors will be allowed on terraces until 10:00 p.m. instead of 8:00 p.m.
  • Alcoholic beverages will no longer have to be locked up after hours.

By June 12, 2020:

  • Bottle stamping will be phased out.

The effective date for the following measures has yet to be determined:

  • Authorization to serve alcohol without a meal in a restaurant.
  • Authorization to consume alcohol in the common areas of an accommodation facility.
  • Creation of a reduced-cost alcohol permit for seasonal businesses.
  • Creation of a permit for businesses in which alcohol sales are only a secondary source of income and creation of a delivery permit.

We are advocating for a business-friendly culture shift within the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux to make your future interactions with the Régie smoother.

One step closer to a single permit

For many years, you have had to hold an alcohol permit for every room or terrace in your restaurant or bar. Thanks to our efforts, we’re closer than ever to our goal of one permit per establishment. As of October 1, 2017, the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux issues one permit in each category that applies to your business.
Consider for example a restaurant that serves alcohol with a meal, but also serves alcohol without a meal in its bar area. This configuration used to require five alcohol permits, but now requires just two: one for the restaurant area and one for the bar area.

Area of the establishment Permits previously required Permits required as of October 1, 2017
Dining room 1 1

single restaurant sales permit

Dining room 2 1
(with meal service)
Bar area of
dining room 1

single bar permit

Bar area of
dining room 2
Total permits required 5 2


Lend your voice to this fight! Call your CFIB Counsellor; your experiences are a great help to us during negotiations with the government.

June 12, 2018

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