In order to work as a bartender in Alberta, you need to have a ProServe certification. In this article, we’ll cover what it is, how to get your ProServe certification and what the test is like, as well as if you can use it in other provinces.
Currently, you need to be 18 or over to get ProServe certification, as you can not serve or sell liquor under 18 in Alberta.
What Is the ProServe Certification?
The ProServer is the Province of Alberta’s program for the responsible sale of alcohol. It is required that anyone who serves alcohol in Alberta has a currently valid certificate.
Introduced in 2004, ProServe replaces the older ASIP (Alberta Server Intervention Program). The purpose of ProServe is to ensure that alcohol is sold and served according to the laws and policies of the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC).
How Long Does It Take To Get Your ProServe?
In order to get your certification, you must take training and then pass an exam. Training takes about six hours to complete and is done online.
The training covers four main areas:
- Your responsibility to the care of your customers and guests.
- What your legal responsibilities are when selling and serving alcohol at an establishment or event.
- How alcohol affects the body. How does alcohol affect the body and people’s behaviour, and how to tell if a customer is likely intoxicated.
- How to sell alcohol responsibly as part of a team.
- How to refuse service to an intoxicated customer or minor.
- What illegal activities can happen at licensed premises, and how to keep your guests safe.
After training, you are required to pass a test. The test is organized into six modules with 35 questions. You’ll have 45 minutes to complete it, and you are currently allowed five attempts to complete it successfully. You must re-register to retake the test if you do not complete it.
The test cost is $26.25 (As of 2021), including GST, and is available online only.
You need to have your certificate within 30 days of starting work at a licenced establishment like a bar or restaurant. And for special events, you need to have it before the event, so it’s best to get ProServe certified before looking for work.
A ProServe certificate is valid five years from the day you get it. After it expires, you need to get retested to get re-certified.
To check if your certification is valid y for special events, can check on the AGLC website at: https://smartprograms.aglc.ca/certification-check.aspx
Where Do You Need ProServe to Serve Alcohol in Alberta?
ProServe certification is mandatory for all managers and staff who are selling or serving alcohol at a licenced establishment, including the greeters, hosts, Drink ticket sellers and delivery service drivers. The Licensed premises owners and Security staff (and their Owners/Managers in turn).
The licensee and at least 25% of the serving staff must be ProServe certified for special events.
For the complete list, see the SMART Programs section of the AGLC website for everybody who is required to have ProServe certification.
Can You Use ProServe in BC or Other Provinces?
While other provinces have their own licences, such as SmartServe in Ontario or Serve it Right (SIR) in British Columbia, you may not be required to obtain another license when transferring from another Canadian jurisdiction if your Alberta ProProserve certification is currently valid.
British Columbia recognizes out-of-province liquor serving licences from all Canadian Provinces. This includes the following programs: ProServe Program, Serve it Right, Serving It Safe/Smart Choices, Smart Serve, Service in Action, It’s Good Business: Responsible Service of Alcohol, It’s Our Business, Be a Responsible Server (BARS).
To bartend in Ontario, you need to be SmartServe certified. ProServe is currently not valid in Ontario and you’ll have to take the SmartServe test, though if you’ve already been ProServe certified, it should be pretty easy as the topics covered are similar.
If you’re interested in working in other Canadian provinces, we’re written a guide to Canadian bartending requirements here.
Hopefully, this has answered how to get your ProServe licence so you can start your job in Alberta’s hospitality industry.