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Alberta streamlines liquor licensing, gives municipalities power to allow drinking in parks

Click to play video: 'Loosened liquor laws' Loosened liquor laws
WATCH ABOVE (May 19, 2019): May 19 - This is the first long weekend in Alberta since the UCP government relaxed liquor restrictions at provincial parks. Julia Wong reports. – May 19, 2019

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Parks in Alberta were previously allowed to serve alcohol at their discretion as long as food was being provided as well. The proposed amendments would remove the food requirement.

The Alberta government is proposing five amendments to the province’s consumption laws.

The UCP said Bill 2, the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act, removes “unnecessary restrictions on liquor sales, promotes responsible drinking in parks and cuts unnecessary red tape.”

One amendment would create a simpler process by which municipalities and Metis settlements can respond to an application for a liquor licence (in a community that doesn’t already have one).

READ MORE: Change on tap? The push to update public drinking rules in Alberta

“AGLC is committed to working with industry partners to continue to bring forward policy changes that support business development,” AGLC president Alain Maisonneuve said.

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“While innovation is the driving force behind the amendments, AGLC remains committed to offering responsible choices that Albertans can trust, while maintaining a regulatory environment that remains effective in reducing social harms.”

READ MORE: ‘Sit there, have a drink’: Campers now consume liquor at Alberta parks during May long weekend

Another amendment would ease restrictions on liquor consumption in parks and let municipalities determine whether drinking in public parks will be allowed without also requiring food.

Parks in Alberta were previously allowed to serve alcohol at their discretion as long as food was being provided as well. The proposed amendments would remove the food requirement.

Click to play video: 'Should Edmontonians be allowed to drink alcohol in city parks?' Should Edmontonians be allowed to drink alcohol in city parks?
Should Edmontonians be allowed to drink alcohol in city parks? – Jun 12, 2019

Last May, Premier Jason Kenney announced relaxed rules around liquor consumption in provincial parks. Alcohol could be consumed by adults in eight provincial parks where it was previously banned.

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READ MORE: Drinks with your picnic? Calgary seeks public engagement on allowing liquor in city parks

The UCP government also clarified liquor rules to allow event organizers the ability to serve drinks where they see fit on festival grounds.

More changes are likely around the corner.

In a news release Wednesday, the province said it will continue to review and modernize legislation and that “additional action will soon be taken to further improve the regulations surrounding Alberta’s liquor laws.”

READ MORE: Public drinking: How does Alberta compare to other Canadian provinces?

If passed, Bill 2 would come into effect April 1.

It passed first reading in the Alberta legislature on Wednesday.

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