Best Practices for ID Checking

Work Towards 100% Compliancy

Liquor retailers face more challenges every day while running their businesses. Focusing on driving sales and saving money to ensure profits are intact are key; however, liquor store team members should never let the regulatory requirements of their liquor store be forgotten.

The mindset seems to be that once the licence is issued, owners and their employees can turn their focus to driving sales and managing expenses. This is simply not the case, and it is imperative that the “get it and forget it” approach not be taken when it comes to checking ID and following AGLC and ProServe requirements.

Let’s face it, the moment anyone mentions rules and regulations, eyes glaze over and the speaker often gets tuned out. The trick is to set up and implement a series of best practices that ensure the essential action of checking customer’s ID is at the forefront of each and every team member’s mind, each and every day, so it becomes a habit and second nature to request and assess. AGLC’s policy requires that anyone who appears under the age of 25 years must have their ID checked. The sale must be declined if at any time the customers cannot provide ID that shows they are over the age of 18. If staff fail to take the proper steps to check ID and ensure no minors are served, the consequences can be severe.

All licensees train their staff about the importance of checking customer ID when they’re hired. In addition to this, your team has taken the mandatory ProServe training to further substantiate the importance of these guidelines. So, what more is there to do, you ask? You need to build on this knowledge your team has received. It’s as simple as offering further support and education on an ongoing basis to solidify your team’s knowledge and the ownership’s expectations for ensuring no minors are served.

What are acceptable forms of ID? Who gets ID’d? What simple items can your store produce to make every transaction have a 100% success rate for no service to minors? If you implement and follow-through on these best practices, you will position your store and team for regulatory success.

Take a few minutes each shift and quiz staff on all the components a primary ID must have.

ID Details

Acceptable ID comes in many forms. Print off copies of the AGLC quick tip sheet “How to Identify Minors Tips for Licensees and Staff” at and keep it posted in your staff bathroom, kitchen area, and notice board. Take a few minutes each shift and quiz staff on all the components a primary ID must have. Your team will have read the details so many times, it should become instinctual for them to list ALL the following:

  • Photo
  • Full legal name
  • Signature
  • Government-issued
  • Includes date of birth
  • Non expired
  • Has a unique identifier number
  • Original document

If your staff are given ID that is missing one of the above mandatory items, they cannot accept it and must ask for an alternate.

Some retailers will opt to purchase copies of the I.D. Checking Guide ( in their stores. Keep copies at each POS lane so your team can use this tool on the spot. This is especially useful for stores that encounter a lot of tourists and may not be familiar with some forms of ID they offer.

Point-of-sale System

Some licensees who are looking for a fail-safe at the time of a customer’s transaction are relying on their POS system. Specifically, more and more retailers have requested that their POS provider add a question button to their system that pops up during the sales process. When a team member is ringing through a sale, just prior to taking payment, a pop-up window asks your team member “Have you remembered to check for ID?”. This forces the team member to read it and select “OK” during the transaction in order to proceed and finalize the sale. This works well for high volume stores that get caught up and focused on moving people through a line-up, rather than being mindful of their obligation to check ID.

Severe Consequences

Implement best practices and communicate to your team the consequences if your store doesn’t follow regulations. The sanctions can be severe. If a licensee fails to ask for ID, the fine imposed is $750, a 3-day suspension, or possible cancellation of your licence. If a licensee serves a minor or allows a minor to purchase alcohol, the fine escalates to $2,000, an 8-day suspension or possible licence cancellation. The AGLC Board has the right to review the infraction and can monetize penalties up to $200,000 or licence suspension, dependant upon the severity of the infraction. All disciplinary actions are public and posted online with the AGLC, which is not great for your public relations.

Licensees need to ensure practical steps are in place at store level to allow staff to build on the knowledge received when obtaining their ProServe. The best practice is to have the requirements posted in a highly visible area for everyone to read. Openly discuss, on an ongoing basis, the requirements and store expectations; then continually follow-through with personal conversations every day to give your store staff the best chance at remaining 100% compliant.

Rebecca Hardin is the owner of RH Hospitality Solutions Inc and provides liquor and cannabis license consulting in BC, Alberta and the USA. Learn more at