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Federal Budget Promises to Remove Wine Shipping Restriction

The Federal Budget 2019 was tabled in Ottawa today. Of note to the wine (and alcohol) industry, the Budget Document promises at p.119 to change the federal law (the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act or \”IILA\”) that restricts the shipment of alcohol between provinces. Specifically, it states:

To facilitate internal trade, the Government intends to remove the federal requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another be sold or consigned to a provincial liquor authority. Provinces and territories would continue to be able to regulate the sale and distribution of alcohol within their boundaries.

This promise has the potential to positively impact the regulatory restrictions that currently prevent consumers from purchasing wine or other alcohol from other provinces. The federal restriction is a core part of the regulatory regime that prevents DTC sales and shipment and if the federal restrictions are changed, then DTC could conceivably become easier. The devil is in the details … and, of course, in whether this promise results in actual legislative changes (particularly given the fact that an election is looming). Don\’t hold your breath … but hang tight for the details and cross those fingers.