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Liquor Enforcement and Show Cause Hearings


Liquor Enforcement

The Liquor Act and Liquor Regulations set out the rules that licence holders must comply with to obtain and retain licences, and operate licensed premises. These rules are enforced through a process of inspection that can lead to prosecution in court for an infraction of the law or to a show cause hearing before the Board, or to both. Liquor inspectors are mandated by the Liquor Act to inspect licensed premises to ensure that the Act and regulations are being complied with.

If a liquor inspector finds an infraction, he or she reports to the manager of Liquor Enforcement, who determines (with advice from the legal counsel from the Department of Justice) whether or not the licence holder should be summoned to attend a show cause hearing.

Show Cause Hearings

If Liquor Enforcement decides that an infraction should be dealt with by the Board, a notice of a show cause hearing is prepared and served on the licence holder and the Board then conducts the hearing. Liquor Enforcement acts as a prosecutor of the infraction (represented by legal counsel from the Department of Justice) and the Board acts as a judge.

Based on the evidence presented, the Board decides whether the licence holder is responsible for an infraction and, if so, determines whether an appropriate penalty is a fine and/or licence suspension or cancellation. In determining an appropriate penalty, the Board is concerned with the seriousness of the infraction, the previous record of the licence holder, if any, and the Board’s goal of ensuring the safe use of alcohol in Nunavut.