Series GR-4047 - Liquor control and licensing illegal activities case files

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Liquor control and licensing illegal activities case files

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  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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  • 1981 - 2010 (Creation)

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5 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General was renamed from the Ministry of Attorney General on June 5, 2001(OIC 565/2001). The functions pertaining to public safety is transferred from its predecessor along with those relating to Sexual Assault Centres, Women’s Assault Centres and the British Columbia Gaming Commission. In conjunction with the Ministry of Attorney General the mandate of this ministry is to maintain and enhance public safety and strengthen public confidence in the provincial justice system.

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Biographical history

The Ministry of Attorney General was established in 1871 under its first name, the Attorney-General’s Department of the Province of British Columbia, by authority of the Constitution Act of 1871 (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, from 1863 to 1866, the origins of the ministry were in the offices of the Attorney-General for the Colony of Vancouver Island and for the Colony of British Columbia. In 1866, the colonies united to form one colony, with one Attorney-General, who remained in place until British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada in 1871.

The Attorney-General was the official legal advisor of the Lieutenant-Governor and of the Executive Council. He was responsible for the settlement and approval of all documents issued under the public seal of the province and for the supervision of magistrates, police, and the constabulary. In 1899, the department was reconstituted by the Attorney-General’s Act (SBC 1899, c. 5), which expanded the duties and powers of the Attorney-General to include: management and direction of correctional institutions, the British Columbia Police, and the administration of public affairs; provision of legislative and legal advice to the representative of the Crown and the heads of government departments; administration of justice within the Province; and regulation of all litigation for and against the Crown and public departments within the jurisdiction of the Legislature. At various times several different agencies have been under the direction of the Attorney-General, such as the Industrial Schools for Boys and for Girls, Factories Inspection Branch, Electrical Energy Inspection Branch, Mothers’ Pension Board, Municipal Branch, Provincial Board of Health, Prohibition Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent of Neglected Children. In most instances these agencies have later been placed under the management of other departments, absorbed into new organizations, or abolished altogether.

On Oct. 28 1976, the Dept. of the Attorney-General was renamed Ministry of the Attorney-General (OIC 3199/76 and CNAF). The name changed again in 1979 to Ministry of Attorney General (SBC, 1979, c. 23).

In 2001, the Ministry was renamed The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and a new Ministry of Attorney General was created (OIC 565/2001). The mandate in 2001 continued with the Attorney General as the chief law officer for the province and official legal advisor to Cabinet. The ministry is responsible for the administration and delivery of justice services, except for youth corrections. Its programs are divided into five areas: criminal, civil/family, administrative, human rights, and regulatory.

Between 2012 and 2017 the Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Justice. After 2017 the name returned to Ministry of Attorney General.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of illegal activities case files created by the Liquor Control and Licensing branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The records document the investigation of illegal activities in the distribution and sale of alcohol in the Province. Records relate to conducting enforcement investigations and inquiries into illegal activities taking place in a licensed premises or by manufacturers or their agents, pertaining to the illegal manufacture, sale, purchase or smuggling of illicit liquor in the province. Enforcement actions (e.g., liquor seizures) may be carried out by the Branch or other law enforcement agencies on behalf of the Branch in accordance with the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (RSBC 1996, c. 267) and Regulations (BC Reg. 244/2002), the Judicial Review Procedure Act (RSBC 1996, c.242), and subsequent legislation governing the operational responsibilities and functions of the creating agency.
Illicit liquor includes liquor that has been smuggled from other provinces, the United States or other international locations; liquor that has not been purchased, sold or kept in compliance with the Liquor Control and Licensing Act and Regulations as well as the terms and conditions of the licence; adulterated or watered down liquor; sale of personal use or illegally manufactured liquor including sale of U-brew, U-vin products, home distilled or home fermented liquor; and use of medicinal, confectionary, culinary, or other concoctions containing alcohol but not intended for consumption (e.g., Chinese cooking wines, mouthwashes and aftershave lotions).

A few of the records document the research and evaluation of current issues that affect the sale or production of liquor products such as rural agency stores, unlicensed motor vessels, fishing lodges and aboriginal affairs. Records may also contain information pertaining to alcohol-related incidents of special significance or importance to liquor control and licensing (e.g., death as a result of alcohol consumption) which may have influence over policy. Additionally, a few files relate to licensed manufacturers of beer, wine and spirits pursuant to the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (RSBC 1996, c.267, ss. 12, 15, 55, 56, 57 and 58). Manufacturers must be licensed to produce distilled spirits, wine, beer or cider. The records were created between 1981 and 2010 in British Columbia.

The records are arranged by the name of the establishment under investigation for illegal activities. They include correspondence, memoranda, reports, news clippings and legal documents, copies of coroner’s inquiries and coroner’s reports, policy reviews, research materials, licences, applications, renewal forms, and reports. The records are classified as illegal activities case files (71800-20) under the Liquor Control and Licensing ORCS (schedule 111801), published in 2006. Some records are classified as issues and topics of interest (70100-20) and policy and procedures files (73400-00).

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the Ministry of Attorney General in 2020.


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Restrictions on access

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

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Associated materials

For associated materials, see: Series GR-0052 - Liquor Control Board inspector files.

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