Sept. 22, 2021 The Division of Human Resources & Equity is now called the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture.

Holiday Party Planning 2021

Dear colleagues,

As you begin to plan your end-of-year staff events, we are sending you our annual reminder missive regarding our legal obligations according to the Liquor License Act, University policy such as the Alcohol Policy, and general laws.

However, we know that many areas are grappling with how to plan an end-of-year celebration during the COVID-19 pandemic and could be considering alternative or virtual ways to express gratitude to our colleagues for the work they have done this year. We encourage you to be creative and find ways to celebrate together. If you are planning to host an event on campus, the event teams at St. George Catering, 89 Chestnut and Hart House, among others at St. George, UTM and UTSC, can help with your venue and planning needs. COVID-19 restrictions do not mean no fun. Our teams are here to support your safe and imaginative event!

With respect to recognition or gifts, we would ask you to not send alcohol as per university policy but to explore alternative options. Please note that gift cards are taxable benefits, and department managers / supervisors must contact Payroll and provide the name of the recipient and the value of the card to ensure the taxable benefit is assessed.

You may already be considering hosting an event at an off-campus restaurant or event space, in which case, the venue’s rules and policies would guide your preparations.

For those who are planning in-person events or gatherings on any U of T owned or operated properties, you must ensure that you are abiding by the University of Toronto vaccine policy, the health screening guidelines, and the updated guidance in the EAT.

If you are planning on serving alcohol at an event, please remember the following:

  • If you’re serving alcoholic beverages, you also must serve non-alcoholic beverages and food;
  • If you’re providing a cash bar, consider providing non-alcoholic beverages for free;
  • All alcohol served on University premises must be purchased through your campus’ Beverage Services department – they represent the license holder;
  • If the party is hosted on University premises, you must be able to control occupancy, and the location must meet certain physical requirements (sufficient exit capacity, lack of trip hazards, etc.);
  • Alcohol must be served by a server trained in accordance with the requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and your campus’ alcohol service protocols; and,
  • Controls must be in place to ensure that persons not legally entitled to consume alcohol (intoxicated persons, or persons under the age of 19) do not.

Please circulate this information widely in your area.

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season,

Scott Mabury and Kelly Hannah-Moffat