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Two Terrace liquor stores fined $7,000 for serving alcohol to minor

Two Terrace liquor store fined $7,000 for serving liquor to a minor agent. (Needpix)

In a series of investigations by provincial inspectors, two liquor stores in Terrace have been fined $7,000 each for non-compliance and serving liquor to a minor. The fines were issued following an investigation by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch as part of their Minors as Agents Program (MAP).

The first incident occurred on Oct. 18, 2023, when a minor agent aged 17 entered Days Inn Liquor Store at 6 p.m. without an accompanying adult and completed a purchase a 6-pack of blue cans later identified as six, 335ml cans of Mikes Blue Freeze Vodka, an alcoholic beverage with an alcohol volume content of five per cent.

The next day, a notice of non-compliance was issued to the licensee by an inspector.

Agency’s delegate R. John Rogers decided on May 1, 2024 to issue a fine of $7,000 to the licensee, which the licensee requested rather than a seven-day licence suspension.

The licensee testified that the employee who served liquor to the minor was distracted as he had recently received bad news about the health of a family member and was not at his best.

The licensee had offered him the day off but the employee turned down the offer. Following the contravention, the licensee increased the number of signs in the store and reminded the staff members to ask for identification.

The manager agreed that the licensee did not have any of its policies and procedures in writing and when asked how he knew that a new employee was properly trained, the manager stated he formed his opinion by observing the new employee in their work and correcting any missteps.

CCTV footage of the incident could not be found as it was erased on a time-lapse.

The same underage agent then went to Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse on Oct 20 at about 2 p.m. without an accompanying adult and completed a purchase of a 6-pack of yellow cans later identified as six, 355ml cans of Skeena Sunshine Larger beer with an alcohol by volume content of six per cent.

At no point, did the employee ask for the agent’s identification to confirm he was not a minor. Following the sale, the inspector informed the employee and the licensee’s respresentative about the sale to the minor and issued an electronic notice of non-compliance to the licensee by mail.

The manager testified that the staff member had been trained to ask for identification and confirmed there is a black light at the sales counter to confirm the watermark. After four days of training, the manager said the employee did not require further training as she caught on quickly because of her prior serving experience in the UK.

Following the incident, the employee filled in an incident report. Rogers decided on March 25, 2024 to issue a fine of $7,000 to Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse as requested by the licensee opposed to a seven-day licence suspension.

On the same day, several MAP compliance investigations were carried out at various licensed establishments in the Kitimat and Terrace area.

The MAP program uses minors as agents to ensure compliance with liquor laws by testing whether establishments are adhering to regulations prohibiting the sale of alcohol to underage individuals.

READ MORE: Terrace faces alarming surge in indoor drug deaths

About the Author: Prabhnoor Kaur

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