Hosting Events

Municipal Alcohol Policy

COVID-19 Vaccination Verification

Starting September 22, 2021, each person who enters an indoor facility for meetings or events must show proof of vaccination and identification at the time of entry, which will be verified by the event organizer or designate. The only exceptions permitted for meeting and event spaces include:

  • Children under 12 years of age
  • Individuals with a medical exemption and supporting documentation from a physician/nurse
  • Individuals using the washroom or passing through an indoor space to access outdoor space
  • Retail or admission/membership purchases (without the intent to stay)

For more information, visit www.hamilton.ca/ProofOfVaccination

Do I need proof of vaccination to go on a tour in the museum?
You do not need to show proof of vaccination to access the gift shop, washroom facilities, retail or admission purchases and guided tours. Proof of vaccination is only required to enter indoor meeting and event spaces.

What can I expect for vaccine verification when I visit a City Museum event or meeting space?
Each person who enters an indoor facility for meetings or events must show proof of vaccination and identification at the time of entry, which will be verified by the event organizer or designate. Verification is required for any individual who is not an employee working in or operating the facility.

When arriving at a meeting or event space, signage will indicate the main entrance. Vaccine verification is required when entering a meeting or event space, followed by contact and health screening. Please plan and adjust arrival times accordingly as you may experience wait times before entering. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Will my vaccination records or personal health information be kept or recorded?
No. Any vaccination records or documentation will only be visually verified - no information will be retained or copied.

If I am just leaving the facility briefly and coming right back in, do I have to show my vaccine verification each time I enter the facility?
Yes. Businesses and organizations are not permitted to retain vaccine records or status, so individuals will be required to show their proof of vaccination each time they enter the facility.

What is acceptable proof of vaccination or identification?
Proof of vaccination, identification and exemption requirements are determined by the Ministry of Health. For more information, visit www.hamilton.ca/ProofOfVaccination. Identification is required to verify name and date of birth only.

  • Must show Name and Date of Birth, issued from an institution or organization
  • Does not need to include a picture
  • Can be shown as a photocopy or digital/electronical version (on a device)
  • Can be expired

Do I need to show vaccine verification to use the washrooms in museum facility?
No. Members of the public will be permitted to quickly use the closest non-changeroom washroom and exit the building.

I am unvaccinated – can I still enter the event or meeting space?
These vaccine exemptions apply to meeting and event spaces:

  • Children under 12 years of age
  • Individuals with a medical exemption and supporting documentation from a physician/nurse
  • Individuals using the washroom or passing through an indoor space to access outdoor space
  • Retail or admission/membership purchases (without the intent to stay)

Are youth required to show identification?  What is acceptable identification?
Youth 13 to 17 years of age accessing a meeting or event space are required to show proof of vaccination and identification in accordance with the Ministry of Health. For more information, visit www.hamilton.ca/ProofOfVaccination.

What if I refuse to show vaccine verification?
No member of the public will be permitted to enter the event or meeting space without proof of vaccination or exemption.

The City of Hamilton has a Zero Tolerance policy. Anyone engaging in verbal assaults, threats or aggression, vandalism, or incitement of violence will be ejected from the property with a mandatory suspension from all municipal facilities. We ask that everyone attending a City recreation centre/arena contributes to a positive and supportive environment for children, their families, and community sport.

What if someone in attendance at my event refuses to show vaccine verification?
The event organizer is responsible to ensure that attendees are aware of and comply with the Provincial requirement to show vaccination status when entering a meeting or event space.  If they do not comply, the event may be cancelled, and a refund will not be issued. Staff may request at any time, documented proof of contact tracing, and evidence of vaccination screening.

The City of Hamilton's Municipal Alcohol Policy (PDF, 83 KB) allows the use of City property for events with alcoholic beverages on site, where the event organizer assumes full responsibility. The Municipal Alcohol Policy, or MAP, is in effect for use of City property by third parties who do not work for or represent the City. It is meant for event organizers to take necessary steps to offer a safe environment for the public where they are serving alcohol at the event.

The Municipal Alcohol Policy requires event organizers to:

  • Be educated about the policy.
  • Prepare for the event.
  • Train their staff and volunteers.
  • Monitor, manage and assume responsibility for the liability and other risks involved with having alcoholic beverages at their event.
  • Have a Special Occasion Permit or sponsoring use of a Caterer’s Endorsement from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. This allows event organizers to sell or serve alcohol or have alcohol sold or served on their behalf.

The Municipal Alcohol Policy helps:

  • With how to limit alcohol related problems.
  • Encourage responsible use of City property.
  • Promote low alcohol consumption.
  • Reduce exposure to risk.
  • Minimize the possibly for host liability.

When planning to serve alcohol at a party or event on City property, it is important to know your responsibilities.

Plan

A well-planned event will be more enjoyable for everyone.

  • Start planning at least six months before your event takes place.
  • Check with City staff to find out what applications must be completed.
  • Apply for your Special Occasion Permit.
  • Meet with the Supervisor of the event location to develop your operations plan.
  • Understand your role and responsibilities as the event organizer.

Prepare

Have a safer event by preparing ahead of time.

  • Arrange for $5 million special event liability insurance that names the City of Hamilton as additional insured.
  • Develop a safe transportation strategy to get your guests home safely.
  • Hire event workers with Smart Serve training.
  • Recruit enough event workers to meet the worker-to-guest ratio.
  • Organize training for your event workers. Outline their roles at the event to make sure they follow the Municipal Alcohol Policy.
  • Plan for food to be served at your event.
  • Have paper or plastic cups for serving drinks.
  • Plan to offer a good selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Buy alcohol approved under your Special Occasion Permit from the LCBO or Beer Store, or hire a caterer with a catering endorsement.
  • Have copies of your Special Occasion Permit, event worker Smart Serve cards, rental permit and insurance certificate at the event.

Protect

The event organizer is responsible for following the law and conditions of the Municipal Alcohol Policy. These steps can help protect everyone.

  • Make sure event workers are visible. They should wear identifiable clothing or identification.
  • Post necessary signage at your event.
  • Do not allow intoxicated people entry.
  • Check identification and accept only government-issued photo identification.
  • Serve only standard drinks. These are:
    • 12 oz. (341 mL)bottle of 5% beer
    • 5 oz. (142 mL) glass of 12% wine
    • 1 1/2 oz. (43 mL) shot of 40% spirits
  • You and your event workers cannot consume alcohol during the event.
  • Follow the rules outlined on page 15 of the Municipal Alcohol Policy (PDF, 83 KB), including: no "last call" and serving a maximum of two drinks at a time.
  • Offer a selection of food at the event such as sandwiches or a light meal.

There are several steps you need to take if you plan to sell or serve alcohol for special occasions:

  1. Complete the City of Hamilton In-House application form (PDF, 304 KB). The City requires a minimum of 30 days notice for all events.
  2. Complete an application for a Special Occasion Permit. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, or AGCO, issues Special Occasion Permits through a local LCBO retail store.
  3. Pay the application fee at City Hall, One Stop Centre, 71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, Hamilton.
  4. Email your completed In-House application form to [email protected].The Licensing Office will circulate your application to Hamilton Police Services, Hamilton Fire Prevention, Hamilton Public Health Services and Hamilton's Building Department.

The City of Hamilton does not issue “Letters of Non-Objection” for Special Occasion Permit applications.

If a not-for-profit organization or a catering company is not organizing your event, you may need a Municipal Significance designation to apply.

You must make sure that you apply for permits through the Building Department for any tents or structures.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issues temporary extensions for 14 days or less where licensed premises can extend their liquor sales licence to adjacent areas for special events.

The application to the AGCO requires a Letter of Non-Objection from the City of Hamilton stating that there is no objection to the application. This requires a minimum of 30 days to process and prepare.

You can get this letter by following these steps:

  1. Complete the City of Hamilton In-House application form (PDF, 304 KB)
  2. Create a drawing of the extension area including rough dimensions
  3. Provide all documents on one of two ways: 
    By email: [email protected]
    In-person: City Hall, One Stop Centre, 71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, Hamilton
  4. Pay the application fee at City Hall, One Stop Centre, 71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, Hamilton.
    You must pay your fees before we can issue the Letter of Non-Objection.

The Licensing Office will circulate your application to all appropriate departments. The City will give you a Letter of Non-Objection when all departments are satisfied with zoning, by-law and regulation reviews. You can give a copy of the In-House Application Form to the AGCO as proof of notification to the City of Hamilton.

For Liquor License questions contact:

There are several steps you need to take if you plan to sell or serve alcohol in a licensed establishment:

  1. Complete the Liquor Licence application form (PDF, 607 KB) for new establishments, patios or changes to an existing licence. The City requires a minimum of 15 business days to circulate for comments.
  2. Complete an application for a Municipal Information Form (PDF, 99 KB). The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, or AGCO, issues all liquor license, with comments from several City departments which are received through this application process.
  3. Submit your completed forms by email to [email protected].The Licensing Office will circulate your application to Hamilton Police Services, Hamilton Fire Prevention, Hamilton Public Health Services and Hamilton Building Department, Hamilton Roads Division as well as the Ward Councillor.
  4. Once all comments have been received (15 business days) the Liquor application and comments will be emailed to the applicant as well as the AGCO. Note: it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the AGCO and make any and all additional application through their office.

Approvals will not be granted until any outstanding work order have been completed on the property.

You must make sure that you apply for permits through the Building Department for any tents or structures. Find out more information about building permits.

Contact us

Licensing - One Stop
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-546-2782 (option 3)
Email: [email protected]