Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 1, 2 and 3)

Apply for a Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 1, 2 or 3). Individuals, businesses, charities, religious organizations and non-profit community organizations need a Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 1 or 2) to serve or sell alcohol at an event. Charities, religious organizations and non-profit community organizations need a Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 3) to sell alcohol at a community-based fundraising event.

By law, individuals, businesses, charities, religious organizations and non-profit community organizations must have a Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 1, 2 or 3) to serve or sell alcohol at an event.

Classes of licence

Type of licence Type of event Alcohol availability Uses Advertising

Class 1

  • private event for invited guests only (not open to the public)
  • event not held in private residence
  • no admission fee or cover charge
  • liquor is provided free of charge to guests
alcohol is served, not sold
  • wedding
  • anniversary 
  • shower 
  • staff party
  • grand opening for a business
  • birthday party
  • graduation party
  • family reunion
  • other family event
  • other business event
no advertising allowed
Class 2
  • private event for invited guests only (not open to the public)
  • event not held in private residence
  • no admission fee or cover charge
  • liquor is only provided for a cost to guests
alcohol is sold
  • wedding
  • anniversary 
  • shower 
  • staff party
  • grand opening for a business
  • birthday party
  • graduation party
  • family reunion
  • other family event
  • other business event
no advertising allowed
Class 3
  • public event (anyone may attend or buy a ticket to attend)
  • event is to raise funds for a community purpose
  • admission fee or cover charge may be in place
  • liquor is only provided for a cost to guests
alcohol is sold
  • fundraiser for a community purpose by a recognized community or charitable organization or athletic organization
advertising is allowed

Private residences

You don’t need a Special Occasion Liquor Licence to serve alcohol to your guests in your home. By law, you can’t sell alcohol from your home.

Buying alcohol for the event

You need your Special Occasion Liquor Licence number when buying alcohol for the event.

Eligibility

You need to be 19 or older to apply. If you’re a business, charity, religious organization or non-profit community organization, you also need to be authorized by the business or organization to apply.

To apply for a class 3 licence, you need to be a registered charity, religious organization or non-profit community organization who wants to sell alcohol at a public event to raise funds for community purposes. Athletic organizations can also apply for a class 3 licence.

You need to submit your application at least 10 business days before the event.

You need to apply separately for each event (each event needs a separate licence).

How to apply

  1. Complete the application form.
  2. Check the application for details on all required supporting documents.
  3. Include payment with your application.
  4. Send your completed application, supporting documents and payment by mail or fax. Or visit the Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division.
  5. You may also have to complete an interview and provide additional information if asked by the Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division.

How long it takes

It should take 2 weeks to get the licence. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your application hasn’t been filled in correctly.

Cost

Activity Fee
Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 1) $12.45
Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 2) $24.95
Special Occasion Liquor Licence (class 3) $62.30

Payment options

Visa, MasterCard, debit card, cheque, money order, cash. A cheque or money order should be made payable to the Minister of Finance. Payment options may vary depending on how you apply.

Before you start

First-time charity, religious organization or non-profit community organization applicants may need to provide a copy of:

  • Certificate of Registration
  • by-laws
  • memorandum of association
  • list of executives and positions held
  • letter of support from a responsible official in the community (for athletic organizations only)

You may need to provide additional supporting documents including an inspection report from a fire official (in HRM, from the Halifax Fire Prevention Division).

Renewal

You can’t renew your Special Occasion Liquor Licence, but you can apply for a new one.

Application form