The momentum for the reform of liquor laws in BC and at the federal level in Canada continued today with commitments in the BC Government Throne Speech and the federal budget. The BC Throne Speech contained a pledge to implement all of the recommendations in the recent BC Liquor Policy Review Report: see the Modernization section of the throne speech. In addition, the federal budget, also delivered today, repeated an earlier commitment to introduce further amendments at the federal level that would permit the interprovincial shipment of beer and spirits: see \”Removing Barriers to the Interprovincial Movement of Goods\” in the Budget. It should be noted that BC\’s promised reforms are quite extensive while the federal changes are limited. They simply extend earlier amendments (which only applied to wine) to include beer and spirits.
BC\’s full liquor policy review report has now been released with 73 substantial recommendations for change, most of which will be enthusiastically welcomed by the wine industry. Nevertheless, two substantial areas of reform remain and they are: 1) BC\’s wholesale pricing structure for alcohol, and 2) the LDB wholesale distribution system. Each of these areas poses significant problems for both the wine industry and the hospitality industry as a whole. In depth analysis of the problems in each of these areas can be found in the policy review submissions of both the Modernize Wine Association of BC and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. It is hoped that the positive momentum of change invoked by the liquor policy review will continue and that the government will also act sooner rather than later on these important structural issues which affect both industry and wine consumers.