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How to Obtain a Special Event Permit (SOP) in Ontario

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special event liquor licence

Understanding the Requirements for a Special Event Liquor Licence

Eligibility Criteria for Applicants

To serve alcohol at special events in Ontario, you must first obtain a Special Event Liquor Licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Applicants must be at least 19 years old and should not have any history of alcohol-related offences. Additionally, the event must fall under specific categories such as private events, public events, or industry promotional events.

Necessary Documentation

When applying for a Special Event Liquor Licence, you will need to provide several key documents. These include:

  • Proof of age and identity
  • A detailed event plan outlining the nature of the event
  • A floor plan of the event venue
  • Proof of event insurance

Compliance with Local Regulations

Strict adherence to local regulations is crucial when applying for a Special Event Liquor Licence. This includes ensuring that the event venue complies with all safety and zoning laws. Failure to comply can result in the denial of your application. Substance Law can assist you in navigating these complex requirements, ensuring that your application is both accurate and complete.

Step-by-Step Process to Obtain a Special Event Liquor Licence

Filling Out the Application Form

The first step in obtaining a Special Event Liquor Licence in Ontario is to complete the application form. This form requires detailed information about the event, including the date, location, and expected number of attendees. Ensure all sections are filled out accurately to avoid delays in processing.

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Submitting the Application Online

Once the form is completed, it must be submitted online through the official portal. The online submission process is designed to be user-friendly, but it’s crucial to double-check all entered information before submission. Substance Law can assist you in navigating this process to ensure everything is in order.

Awaiting Approval and Next Steps

After submission, the application will be reviewed by the regulatory authorities. During this period, you may be required to provide additional documentation or clarification. Once approved, you will receive your Special Event Liquor Licence, allowing you to legally serve alcohol at your event. Substance Law can help you understand the regulatory requirements for licensees and ensure you meet all necessary criteria.

Advantages of Securing a Special Event Liquor Licence

woman sitting in front of brown wooden table

Legal Protection and Compliance

Obtaining a Special Event Liquor Licence ensures that your event adheres to the regulations set forth by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). This not only provides legal protection but also demonstrates your commitment to responsible alcohol service. Compliance with local laws is crucial to avoid potential fines or legal issues.

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Enhanced Event Experience

A Special Event Liquor Licence allows you to offer a wider range of beverages, enhancing the overall experience for your guests. Whether it’s a charity event, industry promotional event, or a tailgate party, having a licence can make your event more enjoyable and memorable. This can lead to higher attendance and greater satisfaction among attendees.

Potential for Increased Revenue

By legally serving alcohol at your event, you open up additional revenue streams. This is particularly beneficial for fundraising events or public gatherings where alcohol sales can significantly boost your income. Proper liquor advertising guidelines can also help in promoting your event effectively, attracting more attendees and increasing your revenue potential.

Substance Law can assist you in navigating the complexities of obtaining a Special Event Liquor Licence, ensuring that you meet all the necessary requirements and comply with local regulations. Their knowledge can make the process smoother and more efficient, allowing you to focus on planning a successful event.


Obtaining a Special Event Liquor Licence in Ontario is a structured process that requires adherence to specific guidelines and regulations. By understanding the requirements, following the correct application procedures, and recognizing the benefits, event organizers can ensure a successful and compliant event. This licence not only legitimizes the sale and service of alcohol but also enhances the event’s credibility and safety. For further details and assistance, refer to the resources provided by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and other relevant municipal guidelines.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of a Special Occasion Permit (SOP)?

The cost of a Sale SOP is $150.00 per each day of the event. This applies to all event types where a cash bar is planned.

What types of events require a Special Occasion Permit?

Special occasions that require a permit include auctions, charitable fundraisers, community festivals, receptions, and weddings.

How do I apply for a Special Occasion Permit?

You can apply for a Special Occasion Permit online via the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) website. Complete the application form and submit it as instructed.

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