Often as event planners and suppliers we have to jump through hoops and make sure that what we are doing is up to the standards of our government. Well now the McGuinty government is shaking up the festival sector. Check out the following information.

February 23, 2011

McGuinty Government Proposes Removing Restrictions On Ontarians

Ontario is taking the next steps to update alcohol laws to better serve Ontarians. The proposed changes will remove unnecessary barriers and restrictions for special events, festivals, and licensed establishments. This will provide Ontarians with a more enjoyable experience, and improve tourism and local economies. The province will begin consultations on a number of proposed changes, including:

* Removing the need for beer tents at events and festivals so people can walk around freely with drinks

* Extending the hours that alcohol can be served at special events, such as weddings or charity fundraisers, from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., to be consistent with licensed establishments

* Allowing all-inclusive vacation packages to be sold in Ontario

* Allowing people to circulate in retail booth areas of festivals with beverages.

The government is also proposing to expand its enforcement options against licensees who violate Ontario’s liquor laws, including monetary fines.

Modernizing the province’s liquor laws is part of the province’s Open Ontario plan <http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/openOntario/index.php?Lang=EN>  to strengthen our economy and create new opportunities for jobs.



“We would like to hear from Ontarians on getting rid of outdated restrictions that just don’t make sense. We would only proceed with changes that would not compromise enforcement of the law.”
– Chris Bentley
Attorney General

“Festivals and events are powerful economic drivers – they draw tourists to our communities, create jobs and stimulate local economies. We are making it easier for festival and event organizers, vineyards, spas, restaurants and bars to attract new audiences, and create more jobs while providing a more enjoyable experience for Ontarians.”
– Michael Chan
Minister of Tourism and Culture



* Every year, festivals and events generate more than 22,000 jobs in Ontario.
* Tourism spending contributes more than $22 billion annually to our economy, and supports approximately 300,000 direct and indirect jobs.



* Province Updating Liquor Laws <http://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2011/02/province-updating-liquor-laws.html>
* Read more about Ontario’s Liquor Licence Act. <http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90l19_e.htm>
* Find out more about Events and Festivals in your community. <http://www.festivalsandeventsontario.ca/main.cfm>



Nauman Khan
Minister’s Office

Brendan Crawley
Communications Branch

Ministry of the Attorney General
ontario.ca/attorneygeneral <http://www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral>

© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2008 – 2011 <http://www.ontario.ca/en/general/004222>


From Varsity Tents point of view, we feel that the government is not trying to remove the need for beer tents at festivals. We see it as a removal of barriers at festivals. The removal of barriers would allow patrons to freely walk the festival environment with their beverages and not be confined to the designated sometimes overcrowded fenced in beer areas.  What do you think? Is this going to affect the tenting industry? Is the government helping to strengthen our economy?  Who becomes responsible for the enforcement of freeing the beer?  How does this affect the licensee providing the beer? We’re on Twitter hashtags #Mcguinty #alcohollaws #festival, Facebook or email info@varsitytents.com.