May 09, 2019

Population Will Determine Additional Retail Liquor Stores

The Government of Saskatchewan has finalized its policy for allocating new retail liquor permits.

“When the government announced its new retail liquor model in November 2015, we committed to establishing a population-based matrix for allocating additional retail liquor store permits, once the transition to the new expanded private liquor retail model was complete,” Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) Gene Makowsky said.  “This new process will take effect in the coming weeks, once the required regulatory amendments are complete.”

Under the policy, communities require a minimum population of 500 to qualify for a retail liquor store, with additional stores according to the population matrix.  The maximum number of liquor stores in a community with a population up to 275,000 will be 40.

Based on latest the population statistics, it means no new liquor store permits are currently available in Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Yorkton and North Battleford but cities like Melfort, Martensville, Weyburn and Estevan would be eligible for one additional retail store.

The process to allocate additional liquor store permits will only be triggered if someone expresses interest in a community where there is an available permit.  In such cases, an auction will be conducted online with real-time bidding.  As is normal process, applicants will also be required to meet all terms associated with holding a retail store permit.

“We believe this new process of allocating retail liquor permits strikes a good balance between ensuring the public has adequate access, while also setting limits to the overall number of retail liquor outlets based on the population of the community,” Makowsky said.