Feds to free the beer: Interprovincial trade barriers on alcohol to be eliminated

Well, here’s some good news: the federal government announced today it would abolish interprovincial trade barriers to alcohol, allowing Canadians coast-to-coast access to Canadian products without restriction.

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, said proposed amendments to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act would 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.

“For too long, Canadians have been frustrated by the restrictions on the sale of Canadian beer, wine and spirits between provinces and territories,” said LeBlanc in a press release. “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, paving the way for direct-to-consumer alcohol sales from across Canada. Removing barriers to trade between provinces and territories fosters economic growth, reduces the regulatory burden on our small and medium-sized businesses, and creates good, middle-class jobs across the country.”

Canadian wineries, breweries, distilleries and other alcohol producers directly employ about 20,000 people, while alcohol manufacturing sales exceeded $8 billion last year, including exports of almost $1 billion.

LeBlanc 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 only remaining trade barriers fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction and can only be removed by the provinces and territories.

Hopefully, the provinces will follow suit. Given the outcome of recent court cases, the unconstitutional restriction of cross-border alcohol sales could soon be at an end.

Cheers to that!

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