The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued an Order of Interim Suspension of the liquor licence of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays “for reasons of public interest and safety.”
The announcement comes on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, less than two weeks after the Kingston-based business on Progress Avenue announced its intentions not to comply with COVID-19 mandates. The Interim Suspension takes effect immediately.
At the same time, the AGCO is moving to revoke J.A.K.K. Tuesdays’ liquor licence entirely. The Registrar of the AGCO has also issued a Notice of Proposal (NOP) to revoke the establishment’s liquor licence for infractions of the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), including the requirement that the licence holder act and carry on business in accordance with the law, with honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.
On Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, the Government of Ontario released regulations and guidance to support businesses and organizations in implementing proof of vaccination requirements, which took effect on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. As of that date, patrons entering certain settings must provide the required proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, along with valid identification.
Prior to the announcement, on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, AGCO Compliance Officials (CO) visited the premises and met with the licensee. During the inspection, the COs provided education to the licensee regarding the requirements of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA). The licensee responded that he did not intend to comply with the ROA. There was signage posted at the establishment indicating that it would not comply with the ROA requirements.
Several complaints regarding the establishment’s non-compliance with the ROA were received by the Kingston Public Health Unit. By-law officers visited the establishment on or about Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 and made observations of non-compliance with the ROA. On Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, City of Kingston By-Law officials charged the licensee with violations of the ROA.
An AGCO CO attended the premises after the provincial offences notices were served on the establishment and on the licensee. The CO made observations and noted that the licensee continued to act contrary to the ROA.
As a result, the Registrar considers it to be necessary in the public interest to immediately suspend the liquor licence.
“The hospitality sector has been hard hit by the pandemic. The vaccine certificates are allowing businesses to keep operating while protecting the safety of their patrons. Liquor licensed establishments have an important role to play in keeping the sector open and the community safe. We appreciate and recognize all the establishments that are taking this responsibility seriously and will continue addressing situations where that responsibility is being disregarded,” Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO of the AGCO said in a statement.
An establishment served with an interim suspension or a NOP has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal, which is an adjudicative tribunal independent of the AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.