The City is reviewing the licensing and zoning regulations for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in response to directives from City Council, and recommendations from the Auditor General. The review takes into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to support businesses while addressing community and public safety issues.
Responding to City Council directives, the City began reviewing the Licensing Bylaw in 2018 to modernize the licensing and zoning regulations for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. This work included background research, data analysis, a review of regulations in different cities, and preliminary stakeholder consultations. However, this review was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic as resources needed to be redirected to emergency response and recovery.
Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the restaurant, bar and entertainment industries, the City is prioritizing the review of relevant zoning and licensing regulations to support businesses while addressing community and public safety issues.
The review aims to:
The Framework for the Review of Licensing and Zoning Regulations for Restaurants, Bars and Entertainment Venues staff report will be brought forward to the Executive Committee on December 7, 2021. The report:
City staff will provide opportunities for participation in comprehensive consultations that will be planned for early 2022.
The City will bring forward a final report with zoning and licensing recommendations and proposed bylaw amendments later in 2022. This report will also include recommendations related to the enforcement of problematic establishments for Committee and Council consideration.
At its meeting on October 2017, City Council received the Auditor General report titled “A Review of Municipal Licensing and Standards Division’s Management of Business Licences Part Three: Eating Establishments and Nightclubs” which identified the lack of a clear definition of “nightclubs”, resulting in a number of eating establishments operating as unlicensed nightclubs. Council directed staff to review the Licensing Bylaw to address this issue, as well as review provisions related to eating establishments and nightclubs, to strengthen inspection and enforcement, and better reflect nightlife in Toronto.
At its meeting in July 2019, Council received the: “Toronto’s Nightlife Action Plan” report which encourages the review of zoning and business licensing regulations to clarify the requirements for venues regularly presenting live music.
Between 2018 and 2019, Council and its Committees also directed staff to review zoning regulations for live music venues, and to develop and implement an action plan to manage problematic establishments serving alcohol, in addition to other directives related to the creation and promotion of the Toronto Music Strategy and night-time economy. Other directions to staff include:
As directed by Council, from 2018 – 2019 the City conducted background research, analyzed the current state of licensing and zoning bylaws, and identified issues to be addressed. This work also included analysis of data related to eating establishments and nightclubs, and a preliminary jurisdictional scan of licensing approaches for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Staff also consulted with stakeholders, including Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA), and industry members.
The October 2019 staff report: Chapter 545, Licensing Bylaw Updates, addressed duplication of the Licensing Bylaw with the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and the December 2019 report Update on Cross-Jurisdictional Action Plan for Bars, Restaurants, and Nightclubs looked at resolving negative community impacts created by problematic establishments serving alcohol.
The remaining Council directives and outstanding recommendations from the Auditor General would have been addressed in subsequent work, however, this review was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Type (don’t copy and paste) your email address into the box below and then click “Subscribe” to receive key updates and information related to the City of Toronto’s licensing and zoning for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the City of Toronto Act, 2006. The information is used to allow the City to send you an email to confirm your wish to subscribe to a City of Toronto e-notice. Questions about this collection may be directed to the ListServ Administrator, Strategic Communications Division, City of Toronto, Toronto City Hall, 7th floor, West Tower, Toronto M5H 2N2. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. By subscribing to one of the City of Toronto’s e-updates you are providing express consent, as defined by the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), to receive email updates from the City of Toronto.