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B.C. family pub fined $7,000 for serving minor

The Fort Langley pub served the beer to a minor working with the B.C. Cannabis and Liquor Regulation Branch under its Minors as Agents Program.
A Fort Langley family pub has been fined $7,000 for serving a beer to a minor.

A pub in Fort Langley, B.C., has been fined $7,000 for serving a minor a beer in March.

The fine against the Fort Pub was levied by the B.C. Cannabis and Liquor Regulation Branch after liquor inspectors working with an 18-year-old agent saw staff provide that person with an alcoholic drink, an offence under B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licencing Act. Minors work with the branch under its Minors as Agents Program (MAP).

The Nov. 30 decision, newly posted on the Canadian Legal Information Institute website, said the terms of the liquor licence permit the pub to operate between 10 a.m. and midnight, Monday to Sunday.

The decision said the pub has a family food service term and condition which allows minors accompanied by parents or guardians in the liquor service area until 10 p.m.

However, when the youth went in, they were not asked for identification.

An inspector entered the pub on March 14 after which the minor entered and was seated.

The inspector heard the minor agent order a Stella beer.

“Soon afterwards, the server brought a chalice with what appeared to be beer. The inspector let the minor agent sit at the table for about 40 seconds. He then walked over and told the minor agent to leave the premises,” noted the decision. 

The inspector then sat at the table with the beverage.

When the server returned, he advised her that she had served a minor.

“She was upset but cooperative,” the decision said.

 The server provided him with a copy of her Serving it Right certificate, as well as the bill for the beer for which the inspector paid.

He advised the on-site manager that a notice of non-compliance would be forthcoming and told the manager to retain any CCTV coverage of the premises where the minor agent was seated.

The server was fired.

The minor agent completed an observation form and a written statement describing the incident inside the licensed premises when they and the inspector returned to the branch office.

A witness at a hearing into the case testified she worked with the licensee’s management five times between 2020 and 2022, during which an incident log was introduced and was to be used by managers.

But the witness said she never found one filled in and did not know if staff were trained to enter data into the log.

A company representative said there are now enhanced procedures in place for training including a check list.

The pub claimed that the Minors as Agents program was established in 2012 for the purpose of targeting the liquor sales industry to get money.

It said it did everything possible to mitigate the risk of a contravention, and that the branch should target the server who committed the breach and not just the licensee.