A social occasion permit is required if you are planning to sell or serve alcohol at a one-time special occasion such as a social, charity fundraiser or wedding reception. A permit is needed anytime alcohol is offered for sale or served anywhere other than in a licensed establishment or in a private residence.
Effective April 1, 2014, we’ve modernized many rules for socials, including eliminating bottle and brand limits, legitimizing “perfume” raffles and simplifying the permit application. The social occasion permit that has always been required to serve liquor at socials now includes a raffle option if you intend to hold a fundraising raffle at your event.
If you are planning to have a raffle such as a 50/50 or player’s choice draw at your event, and you are applying for a liquor permit, you simply need to check the raffle box in Part E of the social occasion permit application. There is no extra charge to apply for a raffle licence and no financial reporting is required. Click here for information about social occasion raffles.
You can apply for a social occasion permit:
- Online at MyLGA.ca
- at our LGA Permit Department at Unit 10 – 1146 Waverley Street
- at any Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store
Please apply at least 10 business days before your event. If you apply at a Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store, you must return to pick up your liquor after your permit is issued.
Please click below for answers to some common questions about permits. You can also email our Permit Department or contact us at 204-474-5666 or toll-free at 1-888-898-6522.
What if I want to hold my event in a hotel? Do I still need a social occasion permit?
If you’re bringing liquor into a venue, you need a social occasion permit. If the venue is providing the liquor, your event will fall under the venue’s liquor licence and you will not require a social occasion permit. You should discuss liquor requirements with your venue before filling out a social occasion permit application.
Do I need a separate permit to conduct a raffle at my event?
You can have a raffle at social occasion permit events such as socials and bud, spud and steak fundraisers, as long as you have a licence from us for the raffle. For more information on raffles, please click here.
Where do I pick up my permit?
You will pick up your social occasion permit at a Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store. You will be asked on your social occasion permit application to specify which location you will be picking up our social occasion permit. Your chosen location will receive your social occasion permit once we approve it.
I’m part of a non-profit organization. How do I apply for a social occasion permit for my event?
On your application, you would check off “Non-Profit Organization, Corporation or Partnership Permit” under the “Type of Social Occasion”. We’ll review your eligibility.
You may be asked to provide your organization’s constitution or by-laws, membership list and minutes of your most recent three meetings.
What’s the difference between sale and no-sale permits?
You need a no-sale permit if you’re going to be serving liquor to your guests at no cost. Types of events may include business meetings, an official opening of a business, a family gathering following a religious ceremony, birthday celebrations, bridal showers or weddings.
You need a sale permit if you’re going to be selling liquor to guests. Sale permits can be issued to individuals, organizations, or corporations (profit and non-profit). Types of events may include socials, weddings with cash bars, festivals or fundraisers.
Where can I apply for a permit?
You can apply for a social occasion permit:
- online 24/7 at MyLGA.ca;
- at any Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store during their business hours; or,
- at the LGA Permit Department located at Unit 10 – 1146 Waverley Street, Winnipeg between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
When can I hold my event? Are there date restrictions?
You can have a social occasion permit event on any day of the year starting as early as 9:00 a.m., except for Remembrance Day. Other than veteran’s events, events held on Remembrance Day can’t begin until 1:00 p.m.
Liquor service hours are listed on your permit. No social occasion permit event can go past 2:00 a.m.
At the time your permit expires, liquor can be consumed, but not sold or served, for an additional 60 minutes. After 60 minutes has passed, all unconsumed liquor must be removed from the tables.
Some venues have time restrictions that require functions to end earlier, so be sure to double-check with your venue on closing times.
What does a social occasion permit cost?
Permit fees are as follows:
- no-sale permit: $25 fee
- sale permit: $50 fee
- organization function: $100 fee
- charitable fundraiser: $100 fee
As of April 1, 2014, fees for community events will be based on anticipated attendance at the event, as follows:
- up to 1,000 people: $250 fee
- more than 1,000 people and up to 2,000 people: $500 fee
- more than 2,000 people: $1,000 fee
What are my responsibilities as a permit holder?
Taking out a social occasion permit is a big responsibility. Social occasion permit holders are required to follow all of the rules in the Terms and Conditions. Before you can submit your social occasion permit application, you must read and accept all of the permit holder terms and conditions.
Here are a few highlights you need to know as a social occasion permit holder:
- You need to be in attendance at all times during the event. If you leave for any reason, you need to attach a note to the social occasion permit saying who is covering for you.
- You are allowed to have more than one name on the permit.
- Make sure minors aren’t drinking liquor. Ask anyone who looks under 25 for identification.
- Have receipts/invoices for the liquor you purchased readily available.
- Don’t let your guests bring in/take out liquor from your venue.
- You can only serve liquor during the hours specified on the social occasion permit.
- Provide enough food for all of your guests.
- If a liquor inspector or police officer shows up, you have to let them in.
- Don’t allow bartenders to serve more than 85.2 ml of spirits, 500 ml of wine, or 750 ml of beer to an individual at any one time.
- Make sure no one has more than two drinks at the same time.
Make sure you review the terms and conditions found at the end of the social occasion permit application to see your complete responsibilities.
Is there anything else I should do to hold a safe event?
The LGA recommends the following to permit holders:
- Plan not to drink during the event. You’ll be more capable of controlling potential problems if you’re thinking clearly.
- Identify security personnel with hats, t-shirts, etc. and have them circulate throughout the room during your event.
- Don’t serve doubles.
- Hire trained bartenders for your event. Professional bartenders are required to complete the Serving It Safe program and know the liquor laws. Avoid using friends as bartenders – they may not feel comfortable turning away an intoxicated guest.
- Ensure your bartenders aren’t serving more than two drinks at a time to any one person.
- Remind your guests to designate a driver. This can be as simple as printing “Please plan to use a designated driver” on the back of your social ticket or arranging for rides or taxis. Remind guests throughout the event not to drink if they will be driving.
- Plan to deal with guests who drink too much. Before the event starts, ask some guests to be prepared to help you if necessary.
- Don’t allow your guests to drive home drunk. Get them a ride with a sober person or send them home by taxi.
Bottle and brand limits
Is there a limit to the amount of beer and liquor you can buy for your social occasion permit event?
We do not set a limit on the amount of beer or liquor you can buy for your event. However, you may want to check with your venue to see if they have any restrictions. Staff at Liquor Marts, liquor vendors, beer vendors and specialty wine stores can help you to decide how much beer or liquor to buy based on your guests’ preferences and responsible service guidelines.
“Please drink responsibly” should always be your message to your guests when serving liquor.
Should we expect to have an inspector visit our event? What will the inspector be looking for?
Yes. LGA inspectors visit many social occasion permit events in the province. Inspectors who monitor social occasion permit events are focused on making sure events are held safely and in a responsible manner. Their primary focus is on public safety issues, such as overcapacity, over‑service, underage drinking and intoxication.
Permit requirements and fees
I am planning on selling liquor at my social occasion permit event. What’s the minimum/maximum price I can charge?
The minimum drink price you can charge is $2.25. You can set the selling price for liquor at your event at any price you want, as long as the price isn’t less than $2.25 per 28.4 ml (1 oz.) of spirits or liqueurs, 142 ml (5 oz.) of wine or 341 ml (12 oz.) of beer.
Can I sell and serve my homemade beer or wine?
No. Homemade beer or wine can’t be sold or served at social occasion permit events. You must have receipts/invoices in your possession during the event to confirm that all liquor served at the social occasion was purchased from a retail store (Liquor Mart, liquor vendor, specialty wine store, beer vendor or manufacturer with a retail endorsement) licensed by the LGA.
Do I still have to serve food at my permit event?
Yes. You must have enough food available for all guests attending.
Can minors attend my event?
Minors can attend but they can’t purchase, handle, serve, sell or drink liquor. Check the identification of anyone who appears to be under the age of 25 to ensure all young-looking people are of legal drinking age (18 years or over). Click here to view all acceptable forms of identification.
Can I raffle off liquor?
Yes, you can now legally raffle off liquor, including homemade beer or wine. However, it cannot be opened or consumed until the winner gets it home. There is no need to call it “perfume” anymore.
Can I sell tickets to my event at the door?
You can only sell tickets at the door to invited guests, with the exception of approved community or charitable events. For individual social occasion permit events such as socials, you should have a list of names at the front door of people who are planning on coming to the event but haven’t bought their tickets.
Can I sell drink tickets in package deals (such as 1 drink ticket for $3, 5 drink tickets for $10, etc.) at my permit event?
Yes, as long as minimum drink prices are $2.25 per 28.4 ml (1 oz.) of spirits or liqueurs, 142 ml (5 oz.) of wine or 341 ml (12 oz.) of beer. You must provide written or posted information for your guests stating price and quantity of liquor per drink.
Can I order my liquor right away?
You should contact the store that you want to buy your liquor from as soon as possible to make sure the liquor you want is available. You can purchase your liquor from any Liquor Mart, liquor vendor, specialty wine store, beer vendor or manufacturer with a retail endorsement licensed by the LGA.