The Ontario Liquor License Act FAQs

The Ontario Liquor License Act (L.L.A.) contains civilian use of force provisions but not civilian arrest authorities. It provides civilian authorities, in Ontario, with statutory use of force authority for the protection of their liquor license, licensed premises and persons on those premises. It provides arrest authority for Police only.

This is the act which empowers Ontario staff at licensed events or on licensed premises to use force when necessary to evict people from their property or event. This Act applies only on licensed premises or licensed events and does not apply at any non-licensed event or venue.

Here are the most frequently asked questions relating to the Liquor License Act (L.L.A)

What is a “private place” according to the LLA and what does it mean for corporate security?

3. (1) For the purposes of clauses 30 (13) (a) and 31 (2) (c) of the Act, "private place" means a place, vehicle or boat described in this section. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 718, s. 3 (1).

(2) An indoor place to which the public is not ordinarily invited or permitted is considered to be a private place except at the times when the public is invited or permitted access to it. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 718, s. 3 (2).

(3) Despite subsection (2), an indoor place that is available for rental by members of the public for occasional use is not a private place. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 718,

According to section 34 of the LLA, what are the three main reasons for asking someone to leave a licensed premise?

34. (1) The holder of a license or permit issued in respect of premises shall ensure that a person does NOT remain on the premises if the holder has reasonable grounds to believe that the person,

(a) is unlawfully on the premises;
(b) is on the premises for an unlawful purpose; or
(c) is contravening the law on the premises.

How much force can be used to remove a person for any one of the above three reasons?

34(2) No more force than is necessary.

Does a security officer have any arrest authorities under the LLA?

No, not for security officers, other civilians or even other “agents” of the license holder, only the police. However, does the T.P.A. (Ontario Trespass to Property Act) also apply on private, licensed premises? Yes, as does the Criminal Code and various other laws and regulations. Just be sure to correctly name which law you are drawing your authority from in each situation. Name the wrong one and your arrest may well be deemed unlawful.

Can security prohibit the entry of a person onto a licensed premise even if they have a paid ticket and have not been drinking? Why or why not?

Yes, you have the right to refuse entry if: (5) A licensee or employee of a licensee who has reason to believe that the presence of a person on the licensee's licensed premises is undesirable may,
(a) request the person to leave; or
(b) forbid the person to enter the licensed premises.

Is the removal of a person from a licensed premise considered an arrest/detention according to the Charter of Rights? Why or why not?

No because there is no intention nor L.L.A. authority to detain or arrest. There is only authority to effect the removal of the person(s) from the licensed premises or event.

The Liquor License Act and the Trespass to Property Act are the primary workhorses of the Ontario security industry. Problems arise however when individuals mix up these Acts or their authorities. We will continue to add to this FAQs page as needed.

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