Iqaluit Legion violated liquor licence 6 times, fined $17k

The Legion pub in Iqaluit has been fined $17,000 for liquor licence violations in the past nine months, according to documents from the Nunavut Liquor Control Board (NLCB).

In addition, the NLCB has ordered the Legion to close for six days as a consequence of its most recent liquor licence infringements.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 168, a part of Iqaluit's nightlife scene, frequently hosting DJs or karaoke nights. However, it has been brought before the NLCB for three separate hearings where it was found to have violated its liquor licence six times, and according to documents.

One of the violations involved a bartender over-serving alcohol in April. One evening, when a NLCB inspector visited the pub, they saw a young man at the bar who was "visibly swaying, hiccupping, and slurring his words while speaking with the bartender," according to a decision document from the board.

"The bartender nevertheless served him three drinks, which he took to his table," the document continues, adding that the manager asked the young man to leave the club soon after.

Manager didn't cooperate

That same night in April, the NLCB inspector called their superior by phone to discuss what he had seen, and the pair determined that the Legion should be made to close early that night. However, the manager refused to close it down, and instead tried to explain to the inspector how they oversee the establishment.

"With no cooperation from the manager, the Inspector turned on the lights and instructed the bartenders to stop serving," reads the decision. As a result, the Legion was accused of having obstructed an inspector from doing their job.

At the hearing for the April violations, local Legion president John Graham and general manager Sharif Ibrahim admitted guilt for both, and the Legion was fined $5,000 for each violation. The two also assured the board that they had taken steps to ensure all staff know they must follow directions from liquor inspectors, according to documents.

'She was opening and closing her eyes'

Prior to these violations, the Legion was brought before the board on two other occasions.

It racked up $5,000 in fines and a three-day liquor licence suspension for having overly-intoxicated guests at the club on two nights in January of this year. The Legion pleaded guilty to both violations.

On one night in January, according to hearing documents, the NLCB inspector observed a woman standing in front of a table holding several glasses and a beer can.

"She showed signs of intoxication in that she had to brace herself against the table to stand, her legs were wobbling and she was opening and closing her eyes."

On the other night that month, an inspector again saw a woman who was very intoxicated, lifting and dropping her beer bottle and cell phone on the table, say documents.

"She then placed her head on the table and dozed off," reads the violation decision.

The Legion was also fined another $2,000 for serving people who walked in off the street without signing in as members or guests, on Oct. 18, 2023. Under the territory's liquor regulations, establishments with club licences, such as the Legion, are not allowed to host non-members and non-guests.

CBC News reached out to the Legion in Iqaluit for comment, but had not received a response before publication.