The BC government has announced that it will \”modernize\” the liquor distribution system in the province and will sell the monopoly wholesale liquor operations of the LDB by 2015. A letter from the General Manager of the LDB to import agents/distributors indicates that the government will \”approach the private sector to see how liquor distribution in British Columbia can be delivered in a more modernized and cost effective manner\” and will consult with the union to \”to make the transition from a publicly operated system to a different model\”. The press release states, however, that the changes will not affect the 197 government retail stores which currently operate as BC Liquor Stores. These announcements constitute a dramatic development in liquor policy within BC although it is not clear at the present time how the changes will affect the retail side. These moves appear to be part of a larger plan to \”modernize\” the liquor system as one of the Backgrounder documents to the Budget indicates at p.4 that \”in the coming months we\’ll review the rules that govern liquor sales to modernize liquor standards and create more opportunities for growth.\”
The Budget also announced that as part of the return to the PST, the rate on alcohol under the PST will go back up to 10% and LDB markups will go back down: see p.73 of the Budget and Fiscal Plan.