The BC Government has amended its laws so as to permit the sale of imported wine on grocery store shelves. A limited number of grocery stores hold licenses for wine sales in BC. The previous government\’s policy only allowed for the sale of BC wine on those shelves. However, the earlier policy caused a WTO trade challenge by numerous countries (which challenge has been commented upon here in many posts). The new policy comes as a result of a side letter to the CUSMA trade agreement under which the BC government committed to eliminating the earlier restrictions. See policy directive here: Allowing Imported Wine on Grocery Store Shelves.
The Ontario Provincial Government has brought new liquor regulations into force that effectively block (at least temporarily) the recent federal shipping law reforms (see earlier article). The recent federal reforms removed the 91 year old federal prohibition on the interprovincial shipment of alcohol. As a result of those reforms, the only restrictions on interprovincial alcohol shipment are now any applicable provincial laws. Up until now, Ontario\’s provincial laws did not specifically address the importation of alcohol into that province (the LCBO had issued a \”policy\” on this matter but a policy is not a law). However, the Ontario government has now introduced a new regulation (Importation of Liquor into Ontario) that prevents the importation of alcohol into Ontario from other provinces unless the alcohol is imported by the LCBO or under its authority. This change will make it illegal for Ontario consumers to import wine directly from wineries in other provinces (since the importation would not be authorized by the LCBO). Nevertheless, on an interesting and potentially positive note, the new provision is scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2020. Presumably, the Ontario government is intending that prior to that time, they will introduce additional changes or systems such that the blanket prohibition is no longer needed.