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Ontario Shuts Down DTC Reform

In a disappointing move for the Canadian wine industry, the Ontario government has delayed reform of its restrictive DTC policies for an entire year, to July 1st 2021. Previously, it had implemented regulatory changes which would have had the effect of removing the LCBO\’s prohibition over DTC wine shipments from other provinces on July 1st, 2020. There was considerable hope within the wine industry that the Ontario government would make this change in order to provide vital economic assistance to the wine industry during the pandemic and to finally give Ontario consumers access to wine from other provinces. Regrettably, this opportunity has been lost as the Ontario government passed a regulation yesterday which delays the removal of the restriction until July 1st of next year. This is a very unfortunate development as it misses a chance to remove an anachronistic interprovincial trade barrier on Canada\’s birthday. I note that the opening up of DTC opportunities in other provinces (BC, MB and NS all now allow it) has not produced any discernible negative effects and no loss of provincial revenue. I hope that Ontario will re-think this mistake, well before next year. 

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