Special Occasion Licenses

Special Occasion Licenses

If you want to serve liquor in a public place or sell liquor anywhere in Port Alberni, you will need a licence to do so. Depending on your event, you will need either a private or public Special Occasion Licence. 

Private Functions such as a wedding or family celebration require a Private Special Occasion Licence which are obtained from the BC Government Liquor Store.

Public Functions such as festivals or beer gardens require a Public Event Special Occasion Licence issued by the City of Port Alberni. Please review the information below regarding applications for these licences.

When do you need a Special Occasion (Public Event) Licence?

If you plan to serve alcohol at a community event or public celebration in the City of Port Alberni, you need to obtain a Special Occasion (Public Special Event) Licence from the City of Port Alberni. 

Special Occasions (Public Special Events) are recognized, community or public celebrations or events, conducted by bonafide organizations or societies.    You must follow British Columbia's liquor laws. The laws which govern commercial bar owners — such as not selling liquor to minors or to persons who are intoxicated — also apply to you.

When should I apply for my Special Occasion Licence?

The City considers applications for Special Occasion (Public Special Event) Licences in the spring of each year and is advertised in the local newspaper and on the City's website.

Who needs to approve my Special Occasion Licence?

You must obtain approval for your licence from all three of the following:
  1. City Council
  2. R.C.M.P. - note: Your Special Occasion Licence application must be submitted with your payment (see Fees and Charges - R.C.M.P.) at least 2 weeks before your event as not all applications can be completed at the time they are brought in.  The BC Liquor Store can advise you on the allowable amounts of alcohol and selling prices permitted, prior to bringing in your application.
  3. BC Liquor Store

What do I need to submit with my application in order for it to be considered?

An application must:

  • be submitted on a prescribed application form (available at City Hall or online).
  • include the financial statement. 
  • be completed in full.

Application Form - Click Here.

What should I know?

  • The function must be held by a bonafide organization or society located within the community.
  • Applicants must clearly state how the proceeds of the function will be used.  The proceeds of the event must be used for charitable or public purposes.  Any profit realized should not accrue to the organization or society itself.
  • The function must be a recognized community or public celebration or event designated and approved by the City Council, the RCMP and a BC Liquor Store. 
  • Applicants are responsible for contacting the RCMP and a BC Liquor Store themselves.
  • The date applications are received will not necessarily affect the priority in granting Special Occasion Licences.
  • A person with a "Serving it Right" certificate must be on site at all times.  Serving it Right program information is available at BC Liquor Stores, the BC Ministry of Justice Liquor Control and Licensing Branch website, and on line at the Serving it Right website.


Major Events

Major events are events licensed with a Special Occasion Licence which, because of the number of people attending, nature of the venue, characteristics of the event or impact on the local community, may require additional planning and review by the police and a liquor inspector. Provided below are a guide to the terms and conditions for a Special Occasion Licence major event as well as a quick reference card that can be used by staff and managers of a major event. The cards contain a QR code that will send the user to a mobile-friendly version of the terms and conditions guidebook.

Security Plan

A security plan is required for any special event licensed to sell or serve liquor if 500 or more people are expected to attend, or if required by local police. You may use the form below or provide similar information in a different format.  

Security Plan Form  - for Large Events with a Special Occasion Licence (LCLB098)

Special Occasion Licence Policy Manual   This manual provides information on special occasion licences and is written primarily for Liquor Control and Licensing Branch and Liquor Distribution Branch staff, police, local governments, rural agency store staff, and local Committee(s) to Approve Public Events (CAPE).

Special Occasion Licensing Guide
This guide is intended primarily for the use of government liquor store staff to assist them in issuing Special Occasion Licences. It may also be useful to Liquor Control and Licensing Branch staff, other Liquor Distribution Branch staff, police and local governments.