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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 any Saskatchewan liquor retailer.

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

Tips for Applicants

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

If you wish to have minors attend your function, and are not purchasing a non-sale or cost-recovery permit, you must indicate your request on the permit application form. SLGA staff evaluate all requests to determine whether the event is appropriate for minors. If permission is granted, minors must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who is not a minor.

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 consider allowing 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 held in municipally-owned facilities
  • Events with high-risk activities (e.g. weapons competitions, car races)
  • Events held on a Sunday

Additional Definitions and Information

Bona Fide Organization – A bona fide organization must have an organizational structure, an executive and a membership that meets regularly or occasionally for a stated charitable, educational, sports, religious or community purpose.  A social club that has a defined membership, officers, scheduled meetings and a bank account may be considered as a bona fide organization.  A non-profit organization that does not meet the criteria of a bona fide organization would not qualify for a permit.

Bona Fide Seniors' Organization – The majority of members in a bona fide seniors' organization must be 55 years of age or older.

Catering Permit Endorsement – authorizes a catering company to provide liquor service at a special occasion event where it is also providing food service.  A catering endorsement authorizes a restaurant, tavern, or private club to provide liquor service at a special occasion event held away from their permitted premises (restaurants and taverns) or in a non-permitted area in the club facility (private club).  Under a catering endorsement, light meals must be available but do not have to be provided by the caterer.

Commercially Permitted Establishment – An establishment that holds an ongoing 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, stags, stagettes
  • gift openings
  • birthday parties
  • anniversaries
  • religious gatherings (e.g. bar mitzvahs, baptisms, funerals, etc.)
  • retirement parties

  • Family Graduation Celebrations – A private family celebration during which family members and family friends are in attendance, along with the graduate and 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 will attend.

    Legal Guardian – An individual who is considered by the courts as guardian of the minor.

    Light Meal – Non-alcoholic beverages and an adequate supply of food must be available to those attending a permitted event.  Light meals, including buffets, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, etc. meet the minimum acceptable food requirements.  Snack foods such as chips and pretzels are not considered adequate.

    Minor – Any person under the age of 19.

    Private Event – An event that is restricted to a pre-invited guest list, and is not publicly advertised.

    Private Residence – 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 a private residence, but the common areas such as the dining room would not.

    Private Place – Land attached to a private residence, 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.

    Public Event – An event that is not restricted to a pre-invited guest list or that is publicly advertised.

    Trade Show – An event where beverage alcohol is showcased by liquor manufacturers, suppliers, authorized agents, commercial liquor permittees, or the applicant.  If the majority of the demonstrations are related to food and beverage alcohol, organizers may be eligible to use manufacturers’ trade discounts when purchasing liquor for the event.

    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. Certain types of permits require review by SLGA’s head office in Regina, including outdoor and large events.

    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.

    Where can I buy the alcohol for my event?

    All alcohol served at the event must be purchased from any Saskatchewan liquor retailer.  All receipts for purchased alcohol must be attached to the permit in order to make the permit valid. “Bring Your Own Alcohol” events are not permitted.

    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 and wine bottles and sealed beer and 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?

    Non-alcoholic beverages and an adequate supply of food must be available to those attending a permitted event.  Fruit juices, pop, mocktails and non-alcoholic punches are proven favourites.  High-starch and protein foods such as meats, cheeses, light dips and breads are good food choices.  Snack foods such as potato chips and pretzels are not considered sufficient food.

    Can minors attend my event?

    Minors may attend non-sale and cost-recovery type functions. They may also attend sale functions if the permit has been endorsed to authorize minors at the event, and if they are accompanied by their parent, legal guardian, or spouse of legal age.  Minors are not allowed to consume, serve or sell beverage alcohol at any permitted event.

    The permit holder should request valid identification (such as SGI photo ID or other valid ID) to ensure 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.  However, applications for large events must be reviewed by SLGA’s Head Office as special conditions may apply. 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 resale levy?

    Anyone selling alcohol under a sale permit will be charged a resale levy when they obtain a permit. This is in lieu of collecting the Liquor Consumption Tax from guests on the selling price of each drink.

    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 SOPs.

    Permit holders operating under SOPs that allow the sale of alcohol for profit 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 in addition to  all invoices, vouchers or receipts that support disbursements from the event proceeds.  Records of ticket prices and total attendance numbers must also be kept.

    Do I need insurance for my event?

    You are not required by SLGA to have liability insurance for your event; however, we consider it 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 damages 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, contact SLGA's Liquor Licensing Branch at 1(800)667-7565 or 787-5563 in Regina.