Earlier this year I asked you and many other community members to let the Premier and the Attorney General know that recent changes to the liquor licencing regime in Ontario were bad for our neighbourhood. I’m writing to report that our voices were heard. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has withdrawn it’s proposed changes and agreed to improve the licencing system in ways that benefit Toronto neighbourhoods.
You might recall that earlier this year, the AGCO informed the City of Toronto that it would no longer be accepting many kinds of conditions on liquor licences in Toronto. Further, they advised the City that they would no longer be enforcing many of the conditions that had already been negotiated and approved. This was a huge blow to our neighbourhood. For years we all worked hard negotiating conditions that met both residents’ needs and the business needs of licensed establishments.
In response I moved a motion, which Council adopted, saying that if the province wouldn’t support the work we were doing, then MPPs would have to take up the role Councillors had previously taken in finding compromises that worked. For a variety of reasons the Province was uncomfortable with this response.
To settle the issue I lead a delegation of Toronto Councillors and staff to meet with our Provincial counterparts. As a result the AGCO has agree to reinstate the system that allows us to apply negotiated conditions on liquor licences. Further, they have said for the first time that violations municipal bylaws will be considered when the AGCO looks at the performance of licence holders. Finally, the AGCO has agreed to participate in a working group with City officials to improve joint enforcement activities.
A staff report summarizing this very good news can be found here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2014.LS30.5
Thank you for taking an active role in supporting healthy relationship between business and residents in our neighbourhoods.