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Find answers to commonly asked questions about the Smart Serve Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training Program.

My Rights and Responsibilities

Do I have the right to refuse service due to medical condition?

No. You may not refuse service based on medical issues.

Can employees consume alcohol while on the job?

As alcohol impairs judgment and affects the ability to serve alcohol responsibly, it is strongly recommended that staff not consume alcoholic beverages while on duty.

Can volunteers be given complementary alcoholic drinks at an event?

Supplying staff with a complimentary alcoholic beverage after a shift is not permitted. You can only provide complimentary liquor, according to the Liquor Licence Act Reg. 719 Sub.20.2:

Can a certified server be fined/charged for over-serving or failing to obtain proper ID?

Yes. It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that all patrons consuming alcohol are of legal drinking age. Further, it is against the current Ontario liquor laws to serve to the point of intoxication or to serve to an intoxicated person.

Who needs to be Smart Serve certified?

Anyone who serves, handles or sells alcohol, as well as security staff, must be in possession of a Smart Serve certification.

Do persons selling beer/liquor tickets, but not serving alcohol require Smart Serve certification?

To reduce risk it is strongly recommended that persons selling beer/liquor tickets be Smart Serve certified as they are seen as the first line of defense to ensure that alcohol is being sold according to the Liquor Licence Act & its Regulations.

How old do you have to be to serve alcohol in Ontario?

You must be 18 years of age and older to serve alcohol in Ontario.

What is the legal drinking age in Ontario?

The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19.

Does the owner of a licensed establishment need to be Smart Serve Certified?

All licensees involved in the day-to-day operations of the establishment must be Smart Serve certified.

Do part-time and/or unpaid volunteers serving alcohol need to be Smart Serve certified?

Yes. This requirement applies to full-time, part-time, contract employees and volunteers.

Do employees of a Liquor Delivery Service need to be certified?

Yes. Liquor delivery licence holders must ensure that managers and persons involved with taking liquor orders and/or supplying liquor to customers have successfully completed the training. This requirement applies to full-time, part-time and contract employees, as well as any licensees who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

Do golf course marshals need to be certified?

Yes. Even though golf course marshals do not serve alcohol, they do however, fulfill the role of security and therefore must hold a valid Smart Serve certificate.

Can my Smart Serve be revoked?

Yes. Smart Serve Ontario reserves the right to revoke certificates if it has been determined that false information has been submitted in the provision of the test.Further, Smart Serve Ontario reserves the right to conduct random audits on all submitted tests. As a result of such audit or for any other reasonable cause, as determined by Smart Serve Ontario in its absolute discretion, we reservethe right to revoke certification at any time. Refunds will not be issued for voided or revoked certification.
Please review Smart Serve Ontario’s Terms of Use for more information.

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