Experiences involving alcohol in British Columbia
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
I plan to include alcohol during my experience, is there anything I should be thinking about?
Yes. If you plan to include alcohol during your experience, we encourage you to please keep your safety, and that of your Guests, front of mind.
Safe experiences do not involve providing alcohol to a Guest:
- Who is under 19;
- Who will be driving or operating any type of vehicle;
- Who looks or acts inebriated;
- Who has informed you that they are ill or has a drinking problem; or
- Until after any portion of an Experience involving physical activity (like yoga, swimming, hiking, biking) or activities that involve operating machinery is complete.
In addition, if you are hosting an Experience with alcohol in a public venue or outdoor space, make sure alcohol is permitted to be consumed in that venue and consider whether a permit is required.
Do I need a license if I serve alcohol to my guests at my home, at a private venue or outdoors?
The purchase, sale, and consumption of alcohol is tightly regulated in Canada. Hosts who sell, or otherwise offer alcohol as part of their Experience, will need one or more licences to do this unless they take their guests to a licensed bar or restaurant. Specifically, Liquor licensing is done through the province of British Columbia, whose website can be found here. Note: that for a variety of reasons, licenses are not generally available for alcohol sold at a private residence.
Additionally, if you would like to sell alcohol as part of your experience, you will need to get a business license (see our section on Business Licenses).
Special Events permits are available to Hosts who wish to provide temporary or infrequent liquor service at events such as family gatherings, private functions, community festivals and manufacturer tastings. With this permit, Hosts can serve or sell liquor at an event in accordance with BC’s liquor licensing regulations for their Experience. Servers at these special events will be required to complete official liquor service health and safety certifications (see more information in the next section). Information on the program and fees can be found online here.
That said, we encourage you to check with the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB), the City of Vancouver (or the municipality where the Experience takes place), or speak to a lawyer to confirm that you are complying with all rules and requirements.
Is there a minimum drinking age? Is there a minimum serving age?
Yes. In the City of Vancouver alcohol (including beer and wine) cannot be served or sold to anyone under the age of 19. However, in certain limited restaurant situations, the age for serving alcohol to others is 16. More information can be found here.
Generally speaking, this is a tricky area and we encourage you to check with your local municipality’s alcoholic beverage control and speak to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly interpreting these provisions and are following your local laws.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If you are serving and selling alcohol, the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing board has a mandatory certification requirement for licensees, managers and servers covering the rules on the consumption of alcohol including the strict limits on hours of sale, the number of people allowed in licensed establishment at any given time, and the refusal of service to anyone who is intoxicated. We encourage you to check with the official B.C. website for more information, as well as the endorsement and links to classes for licenses and serving.
As mentioned above, a business license may be required for your Experience, Hosts should refer to our section [Do I need a business license]. If your Experience will also involve serving or providing food, we recommend that you take a look at our information about [Experiences involving food]. If your Experience will involve combining alcohol with another activity (for example, a guided tour of an area), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
You should be aware of potential criminal offences for selling alcohol without the required licenses or serving alcohol to underage persons, which may include financial penalties. See the official B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) website here and the official Compliance and Enforcement website here.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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