Liquor Licensing

What is the process for applying for a liquor licence?

Liquor Licences are issued by the provincial government's Liquor Control and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). Contact the LCRB if you wish to apply for a liquor licence. Here is information regarding How to Access the LCRB Online Licensing Portal.

If the City of Nanaimo receives a referral from the LCRB, requesting that the City review the liquor licence application, the process steps that the City will take are generally as follows:

  1. The City will request that you submit a ‘community impact statement’ with your application fee to the City. The ‘community impact statement’ must outline the positive and potential negative impacts of the proposed liquor licence application, and the statement must include the measures that will be taken to prevent or address the negative impacts.
  2. City Staff will then distribute the LCRB liquor licence referral to various internal and external departments for review and comment (i.e. RCMP, Building Inspection, Fire Department, and Engineering Division).
  3. Staff will then prepare an information report for the City of Nanaimo Council.
  4. Next, Staff will mail and hand deliver a Public Notice to the owners and occupants of all buildings within a 100 metre radius of the property to inform them of the proposed liquor licence, and to obtain neighbourhood input.
  5. Once input has been received from the surrounding neighbourhood the liquor licence referral may be presented to the City of Nanaimo Council. At this meeting the City of Nanaimo Council will make a determination to recommend support or to not support the liquor licence application.
  6. Next, the City of Nanaimo referral response and Council recommendation is sent to the LCRB, and it is at the discretion of the LCRB to approve or not approve the liquor licence application.

City of Nanaimo Fees

If the LCRB states that a City of Nanaimo review of your liquor licence application is required the City of Nanaimo fees for that review process are as follows:

New Liquor Licence Applications (Liquor Primary) $500 (plus Public Hearing advertisement costs)
Permanent Change (Amendment) to an Existing Liquor Licence (Liquor Primary) $300
Temporary Change to a Liquor Licence $100
Special Occasion Licence No Fee
Entertainment Endorsement (Food Primary)

What are the different types of liquor licences that are referred to the City of Nanaimo?

Liquor-Primary Licence

  • Permanent Change (amendment) to an Existing Liquor-Primary Licence

    If you are applying to amend an existing liquor-primary licence by increasing your hours of service (earlier or later), increasing your occupant load, or adding a patio area, visit: LCRB - Amend a liquor licence.

  • Temporary Change to an Existing Liquor Licence

    If you are temporarily amending your existing liquor licence for a special event, visit: LCRB - Temporary Change to a Liquor Licence.

Food-Primary Licence (entertainment endorsement)

If you have an existing food-primary (restaurant) licence or are applying for a new food-primary liquor licence and wish to serve past midnight and/or allow patron participation entertainment (dancing or karaoke), visit: LCRB - Apply for a Food Primary licence.

Special Occasion Licence (Liquor Special Event Permit)

If you are applying for a Special Occasion Licence, visit: LCRB - Apply for a Special Occasion Licence.

Liquor Retail Store Licence

If you wish to have a new Liquor Retail Store, you may need to:

  1. rezone the property (City of Nanaimo process)
  2. apply for a Licensee Retail Store (LCRB process)

All liquor retail stores within Nanaimo require site specific zoning. If you wish to relocate or add a new liquor store within the City of Nanaimo a rezoning application will most likely be required. When asked to consider a rezoning application for a liquor retail store, Council considers the following criteria: Licencee Retail Stores (LRS) Rezoning Criteria (City of Nanaimo)

Wine Store Licence

If you wish to sell wine, cider, and/or sake within a grocery store or independent wine store, you may need to:

  1. rezone the property (City of Nanaimo process)
  2. apply for a Wine Store Licence (LCRB process)

When asked to consider a rezoning application for wine sales, Council considers the following criteria: Wine Store Rezoning Criteria (City of Nanaimo)

Related links

Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) Contact Information
Building Department Occupant Load
Bylaw To Prevent And Prohibit Nuisances And Disturbances
Neilson-Welch Liquor Control Strategy Report (PDF)
Good Neighbour Agreement (PDF)
Bar Watch (PDF)

Contact Us

Current Planning Section
250-755-4429 ext. 4275

Last updated: June 20, 2024

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