Compare how different governments set hours for alcohol sales

Hours of sale in cities

Issue
Regulate commercial and public availability of alcohola,1,2,3,4

Action
Limits on hours of sale.a
Ensure there is no increase in hours of sale1,3,4

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities
Low

Current actions in Canada
None of the 31 municipalities limited hours of sale beyond usual hours of alcohol sales, for example, 11 am to 2 am. Many jurisdictions have exceptions that allow for extended hours of alcohol sales, for instance, Vancouver extends hours of sale using several bylaws: License Bylaw, Business Premises Regulation of Hours Bylaw and Winter Games Bylaw.

Local policy toolsb,c

  • Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)
  • Development agreements
  • Business license bylaws

Examples of local actionb,c
Municipalities can strengthen their MAP, development agreements or other bylaws to maintain and reduce hours of operation for a business that serves alcohol, such as requiring earlier closure Sunday through Thursday.

Hours of sale in provinces and territories

Issue
Regulate commercial and public availability of alcohola,1,2,3,4

Action
Limits on hours of salea
Ensure there is no increase in hours of sale1,3,4

Degree of adoption in Canada
Low

Current actions in Canada
Adoption of evidence-informed policy action related to limiting hours of sale across Canada is low. Although all provinces and territories have legislation in place to control hours of sale and service of alcohol, no provinces or territories have placed higher limits on hours of sale.

Allowable hours to sell and serve alcohol for on- and off-premise consumption varies by province and territory, and outlet or license type. Hours are fixed, but are often subject to amendments.

  • Saskatchewan has the longest allowable hours of operation for government–controlled retail stores, from 8 am to 3 am, for a total of 19 hours.
  • Québec and British Columbia have the longest allowable hours of service of alcohol at licensed establishments, from 9 am to 3 am and 9 to 4 am, respectively, for totals of 18 and 19 hours.
  • In certain licensed premises in New Brunswick, where a full meal service is provided, hours of service for alcohol can range from 6 am to 2 am, for a total of 20 hours.
  • Ontario has the shortest total allowable hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments, from 11 am to 2 am, for a total of 15 hours.

Most provinces and territories allow longer hours of service for special occasions such as New Year’s Eve. Extended-hours permits are available in all provinces and territories and extend the hours of sale and service.