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Letter from de President

Moving from prohibition to regulation

On April 24, 2012, Minister of Public Security Robert Dutil finally introduced Bill 68 in an effort to modernize the Actrespecting liquor permits, which dates back nearly 20 years, and to simplify the legislation of alcohol in Quebec. For the CPBBTQ, it was the culmination of years of representations and discussions with the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ).

For example, on October 12 the RACJ and the Corporation met together to discuss the amendment of the Act withrespect to liquor permits. At the request of ChristineEllefsen, president of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, the CPBBTQ’s board reviewed the variousproposed changes to the law and forwarded its recommendations and suggestions in writing.

However in April, the reading of Bill No. 68, quicklydisheartened all stakeholders, including the associations of bar and restaurant owners. Critics came from everywhere and it became clear that the consequences of the bill would be worrisome for the industry.

In mid-September public hearings for this bill will take place. The CPBBTQ will submit a memorandum on September 11 at the Legislative Council Chamber of the Parliament Building where it will also have the opportunity to express its views and make recommendations.

Although the proposed changes together represent a signi-ficant modernization of the current legislation, Bill No. 68 will still have archaisms, and a good number of inaccuracies and irritating measures for our industry.

Here are the main irritants:

At the political level:
a) Among its “essential premise” that supports the RACJ  is that the Act Liquor Licence is a law of prohibition.  Has the time not come to move toward a more modern  approach by adopting a regulatory law to regulate our  industry instead?

b) It is inconceivable to allow the presence of minors on  the terrace of a bar until 11 pm without any parental supervision. This measure does not match up with the  efforts of the Quebec Government to limit alcohol consumption among young people. In fact, this is a  very real invitation for minors to frequent the terraces  without prior parental consent.

c) The CPBBTQ is in favor of extending the hours of operation of our institutions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a  week, provided it is not permissible to sell alcohol between 3 am and 8 am in the morning. Bill No. 68 also  favors this, but only during a holiday or during cultural, social, sporting or tourism events. Why not  allow any time?

At the administrative level:
a) Bill No. 68 has no provision to replace the stamp duty  on liquor bottles and wine with a modern and more efficient system.

b) The CPBBTQ supports the concept of the proposed single permit, but it is in total disagreement of the  maintenance measures forcing the assignment of a  server by room. The number of employees in a room or  on the terrace should be left to the discretion of the licensee, depending on the number of clients. We are  surprised to find that all of our initiatives of recent  years have been unsuccessful. The decision lines (jurisprudence Au Coq and other) are still the main  point of contention between our members and the government. Think of the shocking number of notices  to appear before the Régie for situations where a client  has found a place where a server was not present at all  times.

c) A restaurant should sell alcohol only during a meal and  if it has a bar attached, this bar should be operated in  accordance with the rules applicable to them.

d) Bill No. 68 is also silent on the self-service. This new  way of doing business allows customers to serve themselves without directly bringing them a container.  The client should not be permitted to serve them self.  They should be served directly by an attendant provi- ding customer service.

e) We are also surprised that Bill No. 68 does not provide  the implementation of a work permit in licensed premises exploiting nudity. We argue that the revision  of the law at this point in time is the perfect opportu- nity to legislate to this effect.

f) We also suggest that Bill No. 68 establishes a genuine  program of employee training, and a code of ethics for  licensees. The CPBBTQ has indicated its desire to be involved in these various programs, projects and training.

A revision to the Act with respect to liquor permits isrequired. We have been wishing for more than ten years; but this must be done with the consent of the community. The Corporation continues its efforts and its dealings with all stakeholders, including government policy makers andinfluencers in order to consolidate its position and succeed for on behalf of its members.

The proposed revision to the Act respecting liquor permits is relevant, courageous and shows an open mind. But these changes should be solving our problems rather than creating new ones. What we need is a bill that reflects the dailyreality of bar owners across Quebec.

We deserve it. We will have it.

Jean-Jacques Beauchamp, President
Board of Directors
Corporation des Propriétaires de Bars du Québec.

 

 

Par: admin

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