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LCLB Policy Prevents Retail Wine Business Off Site?

Apparently, it may no longer be permissible in BC for a wine store owner or employee to conduct any business outside his wine store. The LCLB recently amended the terms and conditions of private wine stores\’ licenses to indicate that all business activities \”related directly or indirectly to the sale of liquor must be conducted inside your wine store\”. The only exception noted is for permitted advertising. It seems that the LCLB is taking a strict interpretation of this \”policy\” because they recently denied a request for a private store to set up an \”order table\” at a wine tasting event.

This policy is problematic because if taken literally, it would prevent a wine store owner from replying to a customer\’s email if he received it at home or away from the store. It would also prevent a store owner or employee from discussing business if he saw a customer in a restaurant or at a social event. At the present time, it is unclear what the objective of this new policy is but it will certainly make it more difficult for the general public to order or even talk about the ordering of wine. It also raises some serious legal issues because \”commercial expression\” has long been recognized as a right that is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights. I do not see how LCLB \”policy\” can restrict the exercise of a protected Charter right in these circumstances!

Update: Business in Vancouver has now covered this story: LCLB policies outdated in a mobile world.

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