SCC to Hear Comeau (Cross-Border Liquor) Appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada has announced that it will hear an appeal of the Comeau case. This is the New Brunswick trial level decision that found provincial restrictions on the inter-provincial transport of alcohol to be unconstitutional. The case was first appealed to the NB Court of Appeal which declined to hear the appeal. However, the case will now head directly to the country's highest court where a ruling would create a national precedent on the issues. The case has the potential to change the landscape for the interprovincial shipment of alcohol in Canada and could also affect other interprovincial trade issues such as agricultural marketing boards. Globe coverage of the decision is here: Supreme Court to Hear Polarizing Border-Beer Case.

Australia Joins WTO Challenge Over BC Grocery Wine

Australia has now joined the WTO challenge regarding BC's grocery store wine sales model. The number of regions in the challenge now numbers five: the United States, the European Union, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia. Canada has accepted the requests of these counties to join the challenge. Details are on the WTO site.

Argentina Joins WTO Challenge to BC Grocery Wine Sales

Argentina has now joined the United States, the European Union and New Zealand in their challenge to the BC government's grocery store wine sales model. The challenge relates to the implementation of grocery store wine sales that allow 100% BC wine to be sold on regular grocery shelves but which requires that any imported wine be sold in a separate "store within a store". To date, no grocery stores have opened the latter sales model while the former model is rolling out slowly across the province. This topic will be discussed further at Tuesday's Wine Law Conference in Vancouver. Additional analysis of the challenge was featured in this Vancouver Sun article by Karen Graham.

EU and New Zealand Join WTO Dispute Over BC Grocery Wine

The European Union and New Zealand have now both formally requested to join the WTO dispute, initiated recently by the U.S., regarding the BC wine in grocery model (which permits the sale of only BC wine on regular grocery store shelves). See here for details. This trade topic has now been added to the agenda of the Wine Law Conference, to be held next Tuesday in Vancouver.

BC's New Liquor Laws Now Effective

Businesses involved in the wine industry in British Columbia should take note that BC's new Liquor Control & Licensing Act and associated Regulation became effective on January 23, 2017. Links to the new statute and regulation are contained on this page of the LCLB's new web site: Legislation and Regulation. To support the new Act & Regs, the LCLB has also released new Terms & Conditions Guides for licensees. The new guide for wineries is here: Manufacturer's TAC Guide. There are also new guides for other categories of licensee here: TAC Guides

These new laws will be the subject of sessions at the upcoming BC Wine & Liquor Law Conference, to be held in Vancouver on February 14th. Wine industry attendees can obtain a reduced registration fee by changing the rate on the registration page to "wine industry rate".