HomeNewsLatest NewsOntario MPP Introduces Provincial "FreeMyGrapes" Bill

Ontario MPP Introduces Provincial "FreeMyGrapes" Bill

An Ontario Conservative MPP, Rob Milligan, has introduced Private Members' Bill 117, which is intended to clear up confusion in that province and clearly permit Ontario residents to import wine from other provinces in amounts for personal consumption (see story from the Northumberland View). The Bill is designed to address the uncertainty in Ontario following the passage of Bill C-311 at the federal level. Bill C-311 essentially "passed the buck" on wine shipping law to the provinces but Ontario currently has no statutory or regulatory provisions that deal with the inter-provincial importation of wine. Some analysts, like myself, have argued that Ontario is open to shipping because of the legal principle "that which is not prohibited is permitted" (see analysis at FreeMyGrapes.ca). However, the LCBO has issued a policy statement to the contrary indicating that it will not permit interprovincial importation of wine unless it is done "in-person" (i.e. no shipments from wineries). Bill 117 introduces a nice touch on this issue as it specifically removes all of the LCBO's powers in respect of any wine imported into Ontario from another province for personal consumption. Bill 117 is a private member's bill ... such bills rarely become law. However, the federal Bill C-311 was also a private member's bill ... and it passed with unanimous all party support.