Is your company thinking about hosting a holiday event to recognize your wonderful clients? Or maybe you are a non-profit organization planning a festive community fundraising event. Are you considering serving alcohol but wondering what rules apply? Who do you even contact to ask?

If your organization is located in Nova Scotia, contact the Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division. You may be required to apply for a special type of liquor license called a Special Occasion permit. Call 1-877-565-0556 (toll-free in Nova Scotia) for more information. There are three main types of ‘Special Occasion’ permits that may be issued:

  • Class 1 permit: For a private event for invited guests only where liquor is given away for free, not sold. The event cannot be advertised or open to the public. There cannot be an admission fee or cover charge. The current cost of the permit is $12.45 per day.
  • Class 2 permit: For a private event for invited guests only where liquor is re-sold. The event cannot be advertised or open to the public. The current cost of the permit is $24.95 per day.
  • Class 3 permit: For public events where the resale is used as part of a community fundraiser. A Class 3 license will only be issued to a recognized community or charitable organization for community fundraising purposes. A Class 3 license may be issued to Athletic Organizations on a limited basis and a letter of support from a responsible official of the community must accompany the application. The current cost of the permit is $62.30 per day.

In addition to thinking about what liquor license may be required, you also need to think about the potential liability where alcohol is served at a function. This is something that should be seriously considered. I strongly suggest speaking with a lawyer about this. Ensuring proper insurance coverage is also important. I don’t mean to be a downer on your holiday event planning, but it is important to be informed BEFORE deciding to serve alcohol at a holiday event.

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