Hospitality Sector Working Group quick wins and strategic priorities propel industry forward
Less than three months since the City established the Hospitality Sector Working Group, it has become a catalyst for innovation and collaboration, spearheading important changes by breaking down barriers and streamlining processes.
“The hospitality sector is a cornerstone of our city’s economy,” says Mayor Ken Sim. “I am proud of our proactive approach to listening and responding to the sector’s needs. We’re here to listen, learn, and work hand in hand with the industry. Together with industry leaders, we are removing barriers and creating a more supportive and prosperous environment for local businesses while enhancing the experience for residents and visitors.”
The City has made significant strides in implementing recommendations from the working group, such as simplifying processes so businesses can focus on innovation and growth. These include:
- Streamlined liquor licensing: businesses can now submit development permits and liquor licensing applications together as concurrent applications.
- Simplified business licencing process for restaurants: applications for a new restaurant business licence can now be submitted at the same time as a development permit and liquor licensing applications.
- Enhanced occupancy load process: floor plans can now be submitted with seating calculations to determine occupancy load, allowing fire occupancy load permits and development permits to be approved simultaneously.
“Having a direct link between industry, Council, and City staff allows us to quickly implement smart, innovative solutions to support Vancouver’s hospitality industry,” said Jeff Guignard, Executive Director of BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees—an association representing BC’s pubs, bars, nightclubs, and private liquor stores. “Our focus in the coming months will be to find practical and meaningful solutions to reduce red tape, cut costly delays, and give industry the tools it needs to prosper.”
In the coming months, the City in consultation with the working group, will be actively exploring creative solutions to enhance Vancouver’s hospitality scene, including restaurants, bars and pubs, breweries and distilleries, and tourism-related services.
“Vancouver’s hospitality sector is an integral part of both the economic and cultural fabric of our city, and the establishment of the hospitality working group indicates a much needed focus and prioritization of the industry,” said Hospitality Vancouver Association (HVA) spokesperson Laura Ballance. “The membership of HVA is looking forward to working in a collaborative nature with city officials and staff on issues facing the sector.”
Among the priorities identified for future work, the working group will help inform the City’s ongoing efforts, including:
- Identifying opportunities to streamline and resolve provincial and municipal liquor licensing timelines.
- Exploring options to reduce or remove distancing requirements for liquor establishments to increase opportunities for new and existing businesses.
- Reviewing the City’s year-round patio program to support a vibrant restaurant scene in Vancouver.
- Evaluating options to simplify regulations related to tasting lounges at breweries and distilleries so that businesses have clarity and can better promote their brand.
“We’ve had some remarkable quick wins, but there’s still lots of work to do,” says Andrea Law, General Manager of Development and Business Licensing. “Together with the working group, the City is committed to finding practical solutions to challenges faced by businesses in the hospitality sector. Our approach to collaboration is grounded in deep respect for the many local entrepreneurs and businesses that form Vancouver’s diverse hospitality scene.”
The City will provide updates on the working group through a designated Hospitality Sector Working Group web page, which also hosts valuable resources for business owners.