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Could Centretown Pub and Swizzles lose their liquor licences?

AGCO investigations standard practice after arrests on premises

The body that handles the province’s liquor licences is moderating fears after Ottawa police suggested that Centretown Pub and Swizzles could be shut down.

After a five-month criminal investigation targeting street-level drugs, Ottawa police arrested three people at Centretown Pub and Swizzles bar May 5.

Staff sergeant Kal Ghadban, the officer in charge of the investigation, said that police turned over evidence related to the two bars to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and that the future of the bars could be jeopardized.

But Lisa Murray, spokesperson for the AGCO, says that it’s standard procedure, any time the police are involved in an incident at a licensed establishment, to launch an investigation.

“It is on a case-to-case basis. Some are very simple and it takes a brief period of time; some are much more complicated and it can take several weeks, if not months,” she says.

Murray says that the AGCO’s mandate is “to make sure that alcohol is served responsibly in Ontario and the people who are operating licensed establishments are operating in accordance with the law and in accordance with public safety and public interest.”

Murray could not comment on the investigations into the two bars, but she did say that in drug cases the AGCO would look into the circumstances to clarify if the licensee was aware of or complicit in the drug deals. The AGCO then determines if an administrative sanction is appropriate and what the sanction would be.