Specific Provincial Legislation Affecting Franchising

AuthorFrank Zaid
ProfessionSenior Partner Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
1) Summar y of Leg islation
The licensing of liquor sales in Canada is governed by provincial stat-
utes that may rest rict a franchi sor’s ability to collect royalties based on
gross sales that include liquor sales.
There are no specif‌ic legislative prohibitions or restrictions on t he
payment of royalty fees based on liquor sales in the following prov-
inces: British Columbia,1 Saskatchewan,2 New Brunswick,3 Prince Ed-
1 The governing stat ute in British Columbia is t he Liquor Control and Licensing
Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 267, as amended.
2 The governing stat ute in Saskatchewan is t he Alcohol and Gaming Regulation
Act, 1997, S.S. 1997, c. A-18.011, as amended. Se ction 58(1)(a.1)(i) of the Act
requires t he liquor licence applicant to state in a st atutory declaration t hat the
applicant is the “ow ner or lessee of the premise s to which the permit relate s.
This provision h as been interpreted by t he Liquor and Gaming Licensi ng Com-
mission so a s not to prohibit the owner of a l icensed business fr om entering into
an agreement whereb y a percentage of gross sales, i ncluding sales of liquor, is
payable to another p arty.
3 The governing stat ute in New Brunswick i s the Liquor Control Act, R.S.N.B.
1973, c. L-10, as amended.
ward Island,4 and Newfoundland and Labrador.5
In other provinces, liquor licensi ng legislation affects franchise
agreements that provide for the pay ment of royalties on gross sales,
which include t he sale of liquor, either expre ssly in the legislat ion or by
implication, where the licence applicant is required to provide a copy of
the franchise ag reement to the regulatory authority when the applica nt
applies for the liquor licence. These provinces include Alber ta (where a
copy of the franchise agreement must be included w ith the liquor licence
application), Manitoba (where only 10 percent of prof‌its may be from the
sale of liquor), Ontario (where if the licence holder receives 15 percent
or more of its gross revenue from liquor sales then the Regi strar may re-
view the franchi se agreement), Quebec (where the franchisee must f‌ile a
copy of the franchise agreement w ith the liquor licence application and
the Board must be persuaded t hat the franchisee is independent of the
franchisor), and Nova Scotia (where unless the Board otherwise directs,
a licence holder must not pay money under any agreement that varies
directly or indirectly w ith the volume of liquor sales and a copy of the
franchise agreement must be f‌iled with the Board). The legislation in
these province s is discussed in greater detail b elow.
a) Al bert a
The Gaming and Liquor Act6 includes a provision in section 65(1) that
provides: “[n]o person may enter into an agreement in which one part y
is to receive remuneration for working in licensed premises if the re-
munerat ion varies with t he amount of liquor sold at the licensed prem-
ises.” This provision has been interpreted by the Commission to apply
only to individual employment contracts. The Commission’s policy is
to require franchise agreements to be submitted and reviewed when a
franchisee applie s for a liquor licence.
b) Ma n itob a
The governing statute in Manitoba i s the Liquor Control Act,7 the provi-
sions of which are interpreted by the Licensee Field Manual.8 Section
62 of the Act provides:
4 The governing stat ute in Prince Edward Isla nd is the Liquor Control Act,
R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. L-14, as amended.
5 The governing stat ute in Newfoundland and Labr ador is the Liquor Control Act,
R.S.N.L. 1990, c. L-18, as amended.
6 R.S.A. 200 0, c. G-1.
7 R.S.M. 1988, c. L160.
8 Licensee Field M anual, Manitoba Liquor Control C ommission, April 200 4
[Man ual].

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