AGCO launches call for liquor retail employee training programs


The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is launching an open call for liquor retail employee training programs.  

To support the province’s plans for an expanded liquor retail marketplace, the AGCO Board is seeking to approve additional training options dedicated to the responsible retail sale of liquor. Smart Serve is currently the only approved training program for the responsible sale, service and delivery of liquor in Ontario and will remain an approved training program for the broader liquor sector, including for liquor sales licensees and their employees.

Through this open call process, interested entities can apply for approval of their liquor retail employee training program in Ontario.  Up to five new programs may be approved by the AGCO Board for a three-year term. The AGCO Board reserves the right to approve more than five new programs at any time. Note that the AGCO is only accepting applications for training programs dedicated to the responsible retail sale of liquor.  

Key dates for the call for applications include:

  • May 27, 2024: Open call for applications launches 
  • June 24, 2024: AGCO evaluates applications submitted before June 24 
  • Mid-July 2024: AGCO notifies successful applicants and approved programs launch. Timelines for approval of new programs may occur sooner, based on Board discretion.

Note: Applications submitted before June 24, 2024 will be prioritized in the AGCO’s initial round of evaluation and approval of training programs. The AGCO will continue to accept applications until the AGCO Board determines the open call to be closed. Additional evaluation and approval of applications submitted on or after June 24, 2024, will be at the discretion of the Board.

As the regulator of the liquor sector in Ontario, the AGCO plays a critical role in ensuring that the sale, service and delivery of liquor is carried out with honesty, integrity and in the public interest. Every person involved in the sale, sampling, delivery or taking orders for the sale of liquor, as well as security staff, will be required to hold a valid certificate demonstrating successful completion of a liquor retail training course approved by the AGCO.  

Prospective liquor retail employee training programs seeking AGCO Board approval may be offered in an online, in-person or hybrid format, and must provide learners with the knowledge they will need to sell liquor in retail settings safely, responsibly and in compliance with Ontario law and the Registrar’s Standards and Requirements for Liquor.  

More information about program requirements, qualifications criteria, and a step-by-step guide on how to submit an application can be found on the AGCO’s engagement portal, ConnectAGCO. You may also access the information and application materials in the French version of the engagement portal.