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Ontario convenience and grocery stores stepping up to apply for alcohol retail licences

AGCO issues 1,896 alcohol retail licences to Ontario convenience and grocery stores in its first week of accepting applications.
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In a little over a week since the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) opened its application process for new and existing convenience and grocery stores in Ontario to apply for alcohol retail licences, the AGCO has issued a total of 1,875 Convenience Store and 21 Grocery Store Alcohol Retail Licences to retailers across the province. 

The AGCO designed its process to ensure those that have already been approved by the agency’s due diligence process do not need to be reviewed again. As published on the AGCO’s licence application webpage, most applicants who already hold an active AGCO licence or registration can see their retail licence issued within a matter of days. 

Most of the licences issued to date have been to businesses that already hold a lottery retailer, liquor sales, or grocery store licence from the AGCO. As such, they had already been vetted for eligibility and compliance (i.e. their ability to act with honesty, integrity and in accordance with the law).

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New applicants that do not hold an existing licence must undergo the AGCO’s eligibility review before being approved. This in-depth process includes background checks and enterprise and personal disclosures for all key people related to the business and can typically take 3-6 weeks.

As announced by the Government of Ontario, newly licensed convenience stores cannot start selling alcohol before September 5, 2024, and new grocery stores, including big box stores, cannot start selling alcohol before October 31, 2024.

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