Free The Beer movement scores a belated win: Interprovincial alcohol trade being legalized

From Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

Today, the Federal Government announced that long-standing restrictions to the interprovincial sale of alcohol in Canada are being legislated into history.

From Global News: many provinces have already agreed to drop trade barriers

In a famous case, Gérard Comeau of Tracadie-Sheila, N.B. was ticketed for bringing fourteen cases of beer across provincial boundaries from Quebec in 2012. His fight to have charges dismissed was upheld as a pivotal legal battle in Canadian trade history. But his fight was ultimately unsuccessful.

The beer that could change Canada: the inter-provincial free trade debate

Today, Internal Trade Minister Dominic LeBlanc said, “For too long, Canadians have been frustrated by the restrictions on the sale of Canadian beer, wine and spirits between provinces and territories. The proposed legislative amendments would remove the only remaining federal barrier to trade in alcohol, and the onus will be on provincial and territorial governments to change their own regulations.”

The country’s premiers last summer announced an agreement in principle to lift limits on how much alcohol residents can buy for personal consumption and transport across boundaries. Alberta and Manitoba have eliminated cross-border alcohol sales limits entirely. It’s now just a matter of time before the last barriers to interprovincial alcohol trade fall away in Canada.

News Release

OTTAWA — Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, highlighted plans to eliminate the only remaining federal barrier to trade in alcoholic beverages within Canada, taking the first step to give Canadians better access to Canadian products without restrictions.

The Government of Canada is taking a leading role in promoting trade within Canada, including in wine, beer and spirits, to grow the economy and create good middle-class jobs. As promised in Budget 2019, the Government of Canada has introduced legislation which will remove the federal requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another go through a provincial liquor authority. Once that measure passes, provinces and territories will need to make their own changes in order for direct-to-consumer shipping to be allowed across Canada.

The Minister called on provinces and territories to take up the challenge to give Canadians freedom of choice and allow wine, beer and spirits to be sold directly to consumers across provincial and territorial borders. The Government of Canada has lifted all federal impediments to alcohol moving across borders within Canada. The only remaining barriers fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction and can only be removed by the provinces and territories.

Budget 2019 maintains the Government of Canada’s strong commitment to working with provinces and territories to better harmonize regulations across domestic boundaries, opening up the door to more seamless trade between provinces and territories. When barriers to trade within Canada are eliminated, Canadian companies are better able to trade within Canada and beyond, while also giving Canadian consumers greater choice.

Quick Facts

  • Canadian wineries, breweries, distilleries and other alcohol producers directly employ about 20,000 people.
  • Alcohol manufacturing sales exceeded $8 billion last year, including exports of almost $1 billion.
  • The proposed amendments are to the federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act.

Associated Links

Supreme Court beer ruling could apply to Alberta-B.C. pipeline war, experts say

The ‘free the beer’ case shows Canada isn’t a true economic union

Conservatives say ‘Free the beer’ but not the milk

More on this story here >>

  Filed under: Announcements (Press Releases), Business of Beer, Politics & Advocacy
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