Here\’s a short update on wine and liquor law reform issues in BC:
Tied House and Trade Practice Reforms. BC\’s laws relating to tied houses and to trade practices in the liquor/wine industries have not been reformed in any meaningful way since the post-prohibition era. The government announced that these laws would be modernized over 2 years ago (see: BC Reforms Some Liquor and Wine Laws). However, the reforms have been awaiting new regulations ever since. The Minister recently told Business in Vancouver that these reforms would be completed \”within the next two months\”.
Privatization. As reported earlier, the BC Government recently cancelled its limited liquor privatization project as part of a deal with the BCGEU (see BC Liquor Privatization Cancelled). Business in Vancouver is now reporting that one of the motivations for the privatization project was to try and improve problems with productivity and efficiency in the existing system and to reform the pricing structure: see Censored Documents Shed More Light on Failed LDB Privatization. Hopefully, both the LDB and the provincial government will not be content to simply maintain an outdated system which has a myriad of problems (see: BCLDB Privatization – Opportunity for Reform?). Having dodged the privatization bullet, perhaps an effort will now be made to modernize the system within the constraints of government control and in a manner which will provide tangible benefits to consumers (and voters).
50/50 Rule in Restaurants Revoked. Over the summer, the BC LCLB introduced a new policy directive (PDF) which removes some problematic language from the Food Primary Licence Terms and Conditions. Effective August 3, 2012, the words \”As a general rule, liquor sales should not exceed food sales in the dining area\” has been deleted. This is a welcome change: restaurants can now breathe a sigh of relief when customers order an expensive bottle of wine to accompany their hamburgers.
In addition, we are now entering election mode for all of the political parties. Hopefully, modernization of BC\’s outdated liquor laws will be a part of the election discussion and the platforms of each of the parties.