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SOP General Info and FAQ

Special Occasion Liquor Permits

Special Occasion Permits are required for anyone selling alcohol, or for anyone serving alcohol at an event that is not held in a commercially permitted establishment, a private residence, or another private place. This is true for private, invitation-only events as well as for public events.  SLGA will not permit a private residence, but may consider permitting an outdoor event on a farm or acreage.

All applicants for special occasion permits should apply at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled function to ensure adequate time for processing.

The best way to get your special occasion permit is to apply online. You can purchase your permit and liquor at participating Saskatchewan liquor retailers.

In this section:
  1. Tips for Applicants
  2. Additional Definitions and Information
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for Applicants

Applications for a Special Occasion Permit should be completed at least 10 days prior to the event in order to avoid processing delays and to ensure an adequate supply of liquor.

Certain types of events may require additional information or review or may have special terms and conditions applied to the permit.  If you are applying for a permit for any of the following event types, please allow more than 10 days for review:

  • Outdoor events
  • Large public events
  • University cabarets  and events held on university property
  • Family graduation celebrations
  • Events held in bleachers
  • Events with high-risk activities (e.g., weapons competitions, car races)

If you wish to have minors attend your function,   you must indicate your request on the application form. SLGA  employees evaluate all requests to determine whether the event is appropriate for minors.

Additional Definitions and Information

Bona Fide Organization – A “bona fide organization” must have a non-profit or charitable purpose such as the advancement of educational, sports, cultural, religious, or community goals. To establish that an organization is legitimate, SLGA typically looks for a structured organization with an executive, a membership that meets regularly to further its stated goals, and a bank account set up to manage the revenues and expenses of the organization.

A “bona fide organization” must have   a non-profit or charitable purpose such as the advancement of educational, sports, cultural, religious, or community goals.   To establish that an organization is legitimate, SLGA typically looks for a structured organization with an executive, a membership that meets regularly to further its stated goals, and a bank account set up to manage the revenues and expenses of the organization.

Commercially Permitted Establishment –  A establishment that currently holds an  SLGA commercial liquor permit, such as a restaurant, tavern, or other special use facility.

Family Function – The following are typical examples of family functions:

  • Family reunions
  • Wedding receptions
  • Pre-wedding socials, ·  Birthday parties
  • Anniversaries
  • Religious gatherings (e.g., , funeral)
  • Retirement parties

Family Graduation Celebration –  A private family   gathering to celebrate the achievements of a single graduate and their escort. High school graduation celebrations for all or part of a graduating class will not be permitted.

Large Event – An event is typically considered large if more than 500 people  are expected to attend the permitted area at one time.

Minor –  any person under the age of 19 is considered a minor.

Private Event – A “private event” is an occasion that is open to invited guests only. The invitation may be formal or informal, but the event cannot be publicly advertised or open to the public.

Private Place – A “private place” is considered land attached to a private residence within a residential area (such as a backyard) or a place in a building that is not ordinarily open to the public and is not open to the public when beverage alcohol is being consumed, such as a private office area.  Private members’ clubs are not considered private places.

Private Residence – A “private residence” is a place that is occupied and used as a residence, including houses, condos, apartments (but not public areas within apartment buildings), hotel guest rooms, moored vessels, mobile homes, trailers, campers, and tents.  In a seniors’ care home, the residents’ rooms would be considered private residences, but the common areas  (e.g., dining room) would not.

Public Event – A “public event” is any occasion that is open to the public. The event may be publicly advertised and tickets may be sold in advance and/or at the door.

Seniors' Organization – A “seniors’ organization” is a non-profit membership organization where a  majority of the members are 55 years of age or older.

Trade Show – A “trade show” is an event where beverage alcohol is showcased by liquor  suppliers. Typically, beverage alcohol can be showcased at a liquor trade show (e.g., Taste of Spring) or a general trade show (e.g., Home and Garden show)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to get a permit?

The best way to get your Special Occasion Permit is to apply online. Once you've received your permit, you can purchase your alcohol at any Saskatchewan liquor retailer

How long does it take to get a permit?

All applicants for Special Occasion Permits should apply at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled function to ensure adequate time for processing. Certain events, such as those occurring outdoors or having an attendance greater than 500 people, may require additional time for review.

Where can I buy alcohol for my event?

All alcohol served at the event must be purchased from  a Saskatchewan liquor retailer.  The receipts for all the beverage alcohol at the event must be on-site and be readily available if requested. All the receipts must show the approved permit number for the event.

Can I serve homemade beer and wine at my event?
Homemade beer and wine, including product made at licensed U-brew/U-vin facilities, can be served at no charge at family events.

How do I know what and how much to buy?

You can ask your local liquor retailer for help planning your alcohol purchases.

What if I buy too much?

Unopened spirit or wine bottles and sealed beer or cooler cases can sometimes be returned for a full refund at the location where originally purchased, as long as the packaging is not damaged and you have the original receipt. Check with your liquor retailer for their policies about returns.

Besides alcohol, what else should I serve?

A supply of food must be available to patrons during the permitted event. Light meals (e.g., appetizers, cheese/vegetable trays) and/or pre-packaged snacks (e.g., potato chips, peanuts) would be considered sufficient for event guests. Ideally, this food would be available throughout the event, but the event host may also choose to provide food at a specific time.

Non-alcoholic beverages must be available at all times during the permitted event. 

Can minors attend my event?

Non-sale and Cost Recovery Special Occasion Permits are typically endorsed so that minors may attend as non-drinking patrons or staff, either with or without their parent, legal guardian, or spouse of legal age.  In exceptional circumstances, SLGA may determine that minors should be prohibited from attending a Non-sale or Cost Recovery special occasion event.

Typically, minors may not attend Sale permitted events. However, if requested by the event host, SLGA may consider endorsing the permit to authorize minors to attend as non-drinking guests or event staff in the company of their parent, legal guardian, or spouse that is of legal age. The decision whether to issue a minors endorsement is made on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the event.

Minors cannot purchase or consume alcohol, nor act in any way in the sale or service of beverage alcohol, including selling drink tickets, serving beverage alcohol, or collecting used drink containers.

The permit holder should request valid identification (i.e., SGI photo ID) to ensure that service or consumption of beverage alcohol is limited to people who are 19 years of age or older.

How many people can I have at my event?

There are no limits to the number of guests allowed at a special occasion function.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the premises where you are holding your function is large enough, according to local and provincial fire regulations, to accommodate all of your guests.

Why do I have to pay a re-sale levy?

Beverage alcohol purchased for Sale events is subject to an additional charge, known as the re-sale levy, at the time of purchase. The re-sale levy is collected by the retail liquor store so that the special occasion permittee does not have to charge the Liquor Consumption Tax of 10% on the drinks served at the event.

What other responsibilities do I have?

You must follow The Alcohol and Gaming Regulation Act, 1997 and The Alcohol Control Regulations, 2016 as well as the specific terms and conditions that apply to your permit. The laws that apply to commercial liquor permittees, such as prohibiting service to minors and intoxicated people, also apply to holders of  Special Occasion Permits.

Sale Special Occasion Permit holders must keep all records for one year after the event. This includes all records detailing transactions relating to the event including:

  • Bank statements
  • Cancelled cheques
  • Deposit books relating to the event bank account
  • All invoices, vouchers or receipts that support disbursements from the event proceeds
  • Records of ticket prices
  • Total attendance numbers

Do I need insurance for my event?

You are not required by SLGA to have liability insurance for your event; however,    it is considered a good practice.  As the permit holder, you may be held liable should anyone at your event be injured. This includes injuries that happen during the event itself as well as related injuries that may occur after the event. For example, if a guest at the event becomes intoxicated and attempts to drive himself home, you may be held liable for any damage he causes to himself or to other people.

Party Alcohol Liability Insurance is available from many Saskatchewan insurance brokers.

Who can I call to find out more information about Special Occasion Permits?

For more information, please contact SLGA  at 1-800-667-7565 or via email.