In Ontario, beverage alcohol retailers include the government-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and private businesses, such as the Beer Store, authorized grocery stores, and manufacturers’ off- and on-site retail stores.
- The LCBO is the largest alcohol retailer in Canada. It sells a comprehensive assortment through its over 670 retail stores, its eCommerce website, and almost 400 LCBO Convenience Outlets (which are independent local retailers authorized to sell beverage alcohol in communities without convenient access to an LCBO store).
- The Beer Store is Ontario’s largest retailer of beer, with 430 retail outlets. It sells beer to consumers, the LCBO, and licensed bars and restaurants.
- Up to 450 grocery stores are authorized to sell beer and cider, of which about 150 also sell wine. There are also almost 900 manufacturers’ retail stores.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) oversees the sale and service of alcohol. It is authorized to licence and regulate various classes of licences and permits, and ensures that alcohol is sold and served responsibly.
As part of Ontario’s Alcohol Review, in 2019 the government passed legislation, which is not yet in force, to modernize the legal framework for the sale and distribution of alcohol. These changes will also lay the groundwork for expanding beer and wine sales into corner stores and more grocery stores and big-box stores.
- The Liquor Control Board of Ontario Act, 2019 continues the LCBO and its role in buying and selling liquor as a wholesaler and retailer, importing liquor, and promoting social responsibility.
- The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019 continues the AGCO and its regulatory power to administer alcohol statutes and regulations.
- The Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 creates a licensing system for the sale, service and delivery of alcohol.
- The Liquor Tax Act, 2019 sets out the tax regime for beer, wine and spirits.
- The Liquor Sales Agreements Act sets out provisions related to Ontario’s Master Framework Agreement with the Beer Store.
Labelling and packaging requirements
Laboratory testing requirements
Sales channels and distribution
- LCBO Trade Updates
- LCBO Supplier Code of Conduct
- LCBO – Inbound (shipment) Scheduling, Carrier and Supplier User Guide
- Specialty Services
Marketing and promotion policies
- AGCO – Liquor Sales and Licenses: Owners/Operators
- AGCO – Liquor Delivery Services: Owners/Operators
- AGCO – Beverage alcohol manufacturers
- AGCO – Ferment on Premise
Relevant legislation, regulations and policies
- Liquor Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.18
- Liquor Licence Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19
- Alcohol Cannabis and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996, S.O. 1996
- Wine Content and Labelling Act, 2000
LCBO – General Inquiries and Customer Service
416-365-5900 or 1-800-668-5226
TTY number: 416-864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291
AGCO – General Inquiries and Customer Service
416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876
LCBO – Specialty Services
416-864-6739 or 1-800-668-5144