Whether or not you — or your staff — require a Serving It Right certificate generally depends on the type of liquor licence you have. There are seven types of licences issued to establishments or individuals serving food and beverages:
Food-Primary Licence (restaurants)
This type of licence is issued to restaurants or food outlets where the service of food, not liquor, is the primary focus. Licensees, managers, servers and all those who may be left in charge need to have a SIR certificate. If you have a catering endorsement, the SIR program must be completed by all licensees, managers and servers working at events.
Liquor-Primary Licence / Liquor-Primary Club Licence (bars, pubs, nightclubs, casinos, stadiums)
This licence is issued to establishments whose primary business is hospitality, entertainment or beverage service, including bars, pubs, nightclubs, casinos and stadiums. Licensees, managers, servers and bartenders in these establishments must all have SIR certificates. If you have a catering endorsement, the SIR program must be completed by all licensees, managers and servers working at events. Flight attendants serving alcohol on the ground must also have SIR certification.
This type of licence is issued to catering businesses whose primary focus is the preparation and service of food at other people's events. Liquor service must be secondary to food service at events. Licensees, managers and staff serving liquor at events must have a SIR certificate.
Licensee Retail Store Licence (private liquor stores)
Licensee retail stores, commonly known as private liquor stores, may sell all types of liquor. All licensees, managers and sales staff at BC retail liquor stores must have SIR certificates.
There are five types of wine stores, which are authorized to sell only packaged wine for off-premises consumption. All licensees, managers and servers in all wine stores, with the exception of sacramental wine stores, must have SIR certificates.
Duty Free Stores
All managers and servers, with the exception of ship chandlers must have SIR certification.
Government Liquor Store Licence
All licensees, managers and sales staff at Liquor Distribution Branch stores must have SIR certificates.
Rural Agency Stores
Rural agency stores (RAS) are liquor stores situated within larger retail stores such as a grocery store and are typically found in more remote locations. They may sell all types of liquor. SIR certificates are required for agents and servers in rural agency stores.
All agents and sales staff just complete the SIR program.
Staff responsible for the service of liquor to their patients, residents and guests must complete the Serving It Right program.
Special Occasion Licence
This licence is issued to an individual, organization or business to host a special event at which liquor is served or sold. Anyone planning to sell liquor in any location that is not licensed or serve or sell liquor in a public place - such as a community hall must apply for a special occasion licence (SOL). A SOL is not required if your event is hosted within a private residence or a licensed establishment. Special events include both private and public events such as weddings, cultural or sporting events, community festivals, outdoor concerts, etc. The host of the special event (either an individual or a designated representative from a club or other group) must apply for the SOL.
A SIR certificate is required for licensees and managers of SOL events (of any type) with more than 500 people attending. A new, abridged training program has been developed specifically for SOL events and is required as of September 15, 2015. The new Special Event Server (SES) training is required for SOL licensees, managers and servers of events with under 500 attendees and all SOL servers (paid or unpaid), regardless of the size or type of SOL. Those who already hold a valid Serving It Right certificate are not required to take the SES program. More information can be found at www.specialeventserver.com.
Servers or bartenders relocating to British Columbia from other Canadian jurisdictions who have current certification from one of the following responsible beverage service programs are exempted from the SIR training requirement in British Columbia, however, employers in British Columbia can require an out of province certificate holder to get a Serving it Right certificate as a best practice.
Servers and bartenders with a valid SIR equivalent certificate from other Canadian jurisdictions are exempt from SIR training. However, Licensees, managers and others left in charge must have a valid SIR certificate.
Foreign representatives of foreign liquor manufacturers temporarily in BC are also exempt if supervised by a person who is SIR certified.
Recognized responsible beverage service programs: ProServe Program (Alberta), Serve it Right (Saskatchewan), It’s Good Business/Serving It Safe (Manitoba), Smart Serve (Ontario), Service in Action (Quebec), It’s Good Business: Responsible Service of Alcohol (New Brunswick), It’s Good Business (Nova Scotia), It’s Our Business (Prince Edward Island), It’s Good Business: Responsible Service of Alcohol (Newfoundland and Labrador), Be a Responsible Server (B.A.R.S) (Yukon). More...
For More about Specific Licence Guidelines and Liquor Regulations:
Licensee Guides describe the terms and conditions that must be followed for each licence and/or appointment class. They are available from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
Establishments are also encouraged to have a copy of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act and the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation on site.