Wine industry welcomes federal budget announcement on removing barriers to alcohol trade

The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) today welcomed the government’s commitment in Budget 2019 to remove the federal requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another be sold or consigned to a provincial liquor authority. This is a major step forward to create jobs and generate more prosperity for Canadians.

“We strongly welcome the government’s commitment to initiate consultations on removing interprovincial barriers which currently restrict winery-to-consumer delivery,” said Dan Paszkowski, CVA President.

If not available at their local retailer, consumers across Canada should be able to access their favourite Canadian wines from any winery located anywhere in Canada. Every other wine producing country in the world offers this, including 45 U.S. states.

“Canada’s wine industry is growing in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, with up-and-coming wine regions in New Brunswick and PEI,” said Dan Paszkowski. “Our wineries attract 4 million tourists every year. Having access to these loyal consumers in provinces and territories where our wines are not available is critical to growing our businesses and our agricultural base,” added Paszkowski.

“Even with today’s announcement, Canadians are bound by archaic prohibition-era laws dating back to 1928, which outlaw their ability to join an out-of-province wine club, order wine online or by telephone and have their wine purchases delivered by courier to their out-of-province residence,” said Paszkowski.

Interprovincial winery-to-consumer delivery is something nine out of 10 Canadians believe should be permitted, and the proposed consultations cannot happen fast enough for the 700 grape wineries across Canada who eagerly await the opportunity to make this choice fully available to Canadians.

“Over the past decade, imported wines have captured 68% of wines sales volume growth in Canada.   International trade agreements are important, but we must first lead by example and remove barriers to wine trade at home,” said Paszkowski.

“Budget 2019 sends a strong message to consumers, producers and provincial governments that removing internal barriers is a key federal priority, and we will work with all levels of government on behalf of Canadian consumers to ensure a legal direct winery-to-consumer system is implemented in every province and territory,” said Paszkowski.

While the Budget did address interprovincial barriers to trade in wine, we remain concerned that the federal government did not amend the Excise Tax Act to eliminate the annual inflation indexation of the excise duty on wine.  This is a rigid measure, which fails to reflect the regional economic circumstances, does not allow Parliamentary debate, and continues to restrict the Canadian wine industry’s opportunity to grow and prosper.

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