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Serving It Right

Changes to Serving it Right effective September 15, 2015

Of the 73 changes announced in the Liquor Policy Review in January 2014, a number impact Serving It Right (SIR) requirements for licensees, managers, sales and service staff. The SIR program is a key part of the hospitality industry’s and provincial government’s commitments to raising awareness and developing strategies to reduce the potential harms associated with drinking alcohol. The changes include:

  • Exemptions will be removed and a number of new licensees, managers, sales and service staff will have to have SIR certification.
  • All SIR certificates will be issued with an expiry date five years from the date of certification. All current SIR certificate holders with no expiry date will be valid until September 15, 2020.
  • A new Special Event Server program will need to be completed by:
    • All SOL licensees, managers, and servers of events smaller than 500 people.
    • All SOL servers (employed or volunteering) of events with liquor licenses regardless of number of people in attendance.

For more details regarding these changes to the Serving it Right program please click here.

What is Serving It Right?

Serving It Right is British Columbia’s responsible beverage service program that educates servers, managers, and licensees about their legal responsibilities when serving alcohol and provides techniques to prevent problems associated with liquor service.

The program is designed for people working in tourism and hospitality as well as individuals whose special occasion licence requires them to have Serving It Right.

Serving It Right became mandatory in BC in 1989 and is a joint initiative of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch and the tourism and hospitality industry, with go2HR as the program administrator. It is endorsed by the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of BC, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, and the BC Hotel Association.

The current version was introduced as a single course in 2007, replacing the previous, separate Licensee and Server versions. It is now a requirement to have a Serving It Right certificate prior to holding a liquor licence.

Serving It Right places an emphasis on:

  • Signs of intoxication versus impairment;
  • Legal liability;
  • Duty of care on and off premises;
  • The need to create and communicate responsible beverage service policies; and
  • How to handle situations requiring intervention.

Who must have a Serving It Right Certificate?

Serving It Right (SIR) must be completed by:

  • Licensees, managers, and all those who may be left in charge at a food-primary establishment (restaurant). If you have a lounge endorsement, all servers must have SIR;
  • Licensees, managers, servers, and bartenders at a liquor primary establishment (bars, pubs, nightclubs, casinos, and stadiums);
  • Licensees, managers, and sales staff at all BC retail liquor stores;
  • Licensees, managers, and staff serving liquor at catered events;
  • Any staff responsible for the service of liquor to their patients, residents, and guests of care facilities;
  • Any director, officer or employee responsible for controlling the sale of liquor if the liquor licence is issued to a corporation (to satisfy the licensee portion of this requirement);
  • Individuals who require Serving It Right for a Special Occasion Licence (SOL), e.g. example, event managers, paid servers and individuals applying on behalf of an organization, association or organized group. Contact the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for more about SOL requirements.
  • Licensees and managers from other Canadian jurisdictions who take employment in BC require the BC Serving It Right program prior to beginning employment, as a condition of licensing.

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.

How Do I Take the Serving It Right Program?

Certification is obtained by taking the course and passing an exam. You have two options:

Option 1: Online

The fastest, easiest (and greenest) way to get your SIR certificate is online at www.servingitright.com. The online program is convenient and offers quizzes and demonstration videos to help you learn the materials. The cost is $35 and you will receive your test results instantly. You can also print out your SIR certificate immediately after passing the exam. Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal are accepted methods of payment.

Option 2: Print Version

You may complete the Serving It Right program by obtaining the print version of the Serving It Right course manual. The manuals are available at government liquor stores, government agents' offices or by ordering them directly from go2HR at:

Suite 450, One Bentall Centre,
505 Burrard Street, P.O. Box 59,
Vancouver, BC V7X 1M3
Tel 604-633-9798

Over time, the number of people taking the print version of the exam has decreased significantly. Because of this, effective April 22, 2014, print exams will no longer be published in the Serving It Right manuals. Individual users are encouraged to take their exams online; however, if necessary, print exams will still be available upon request from Serving It Right by emailing info@servingitright.com or calling 604-633-9798. If you have any questions about this change, please contact us via the online form.

The exam, along with payment of $40.00, must be submitted to go2HR. You should receive your SIR certificate in the mail within 2 weeks of successfully completing the exam. Cheque, money order, Visa, and MasterCard are accepted. Cash and debit are accepted only for payments made directly at the go2HR office.

This article may be republished for non-commercial purposes subject to the provisions of the Website Use Agreement. To republish this article, you must include the following notice along with the article: "Copyright © 2015 go2 Tourism HR Society. All Rights Reserved. Republished under license."