British Columbia

The information contained in the Out-of-Home Advertising Guidelines is being provided for general information purposes only. The information in the Guidelines does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Readers are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting their own legal counsel regarding any of the information contained herein including, but not limited to, legislative interpretation or specific legal issues. OMAC does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information provided. Moreover, the information in the Guidelines that refers to third party information, including but not limited to government legislation, should not be relied upon as accurate, timely or fit for any particular purpose. Stated simply, readers should consult their legal counsel before undertaking or accepting any advertising to ensure legal obligations and interpretations are accurate.

Governed by the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch
All liquor licensees in British Columbia – this includes bars, pubs, restaurants, licensee retail stores, wineries, breweries and distilleries – are allowed to advertise their products, but they must comply with Liquor Control and Licensing regulations.

Licensees may:

  •  Put up signs to advertise their establishments or products, place advertisements in newspapers, magazines and periodicals, or on television, radio or the Internet, and publish pamphlets and brochures.
  •  These may include liquor prices (including specials), hours of sale and the names of liquor manufacturers or brands.
  •  Specific to BC Transit and Trans Link vehicles and property, beverage alcohol product, company or brand advertising must include an embedded message of social responsibility which occupies a minimum of 10% of the total advertising space.

Advertising may not:

  • Encourage people to drink liquor or to drink irresponsibly (ads that mention price must take this into account; if a licensee’s price advertising encourages or results in patrons drinking to excess, the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch can prevent the licensee from including liquor prices in future advertising)
  • Show people drinking liquor, or anyone who is either intoxicated or behaving irresponsibly or illegally
  • Associate liquor with driving
  • Be directed at minors or placed in locations used or visited mostly by minors, such as video arcades and playgrounds

Advertising may not depict liquor as:

  • one of life’s necessities
  • key to social acceptance or personal success
  • central to the enjoyment of an activity, or
  • a status symbol.

In addition:

  •  Ads for bars and winery lounges may not use pictures of minors (in BC, anyone under the age of 19), or of personalities, images or activities that may appeal to minors
  • Ads for bars, winery lounges and restaurants may not show people with liquor, unless the people have food in front of them
  • Ads for restaurants must make clear that serving food is the restaurant’s primary purpose
  • Ads for companies that make beer, wine or spirits may name a liquor store, bar or restaurant where the product is sold
  • Ads for companies that make beer, wine or spirits may not be shown on a theatre screen before a movie, if the movie being presented is primarily for a young audience

For the complete Act and Regulations, visit:

http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/LLinBC/advertising.htm
Amendments current as of: November 2010
Date of OMAC update: January 2017