Federal Government Lifts Alcohol Trade Restrictions

Time for the Provinces to step up in response to Federal government’s lift on alcohol trade restrictions.

Canada flag with provinces and broken chain on liquor bottles

Ottawa has moved to lift alcohol trade restrictions, and urges provinces to do the same.

Legislation has been introduced that will remove a final federal barrier to the movement of beer, wine and spirits across provincial and territorial boundaries. Once passed, the onus is on provinces and territories to change their own legislation that allows direct-to-consumer sales of alcohol across Canada.

The federal requirement presently states that alcohol moving from one province to another must go through a provincial liquor authority.

Canadians do not have a constitutional right to buy and freely transport alcohol across provincial and territorial borders.

Alberta and Manitoba have eliminated cross-border alcohol sales limits entirely.

Why would provinces not want to enable Canada’s small/medium businesses to trade more freely and create more jobs across the country?

“Roger Melanson, New Brunswick’s treasury-board president, who is also the minister responsible for trade policy, also noted that regulation of the alcohol trade in New Brunswick brings tens of millions of dollars into provincial coffers annually - money that is redistributed to services including health care, education and infrastructure.”

The campaign was started a decade ago, to break down interprovincial barriers that blocked direct sales to consumers in other provinces. “B.C. Attorney General David Eby has confidence the provinces can be convinced to align their liquor regulations. "We’ve been big advocates for this, direct to consumer sales opening up across Canada, and there’s been some good movement,” Eby said. “There was agreement at the federal, provincial, territorial meeting and support for this, and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to get this underway.”

BC, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have amended their laws to let residents place orders for home delivery (for personal use) from wineries outside the province. Ontario allows the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores, but has not legalized the import of alcohol from other provinces for personal use. Quebec allows residents to bring a set amount of wine from other provinces, but does not allow it to be shipped to them. In Alberta, there is no limit on what is brought for personal use as long as the liquor accompanies the individual.

A small step, but it’s at least a little closer to the goal! #freethebeer

Information credit:


Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun

Amanda Connolly, Global News