B.C. liquor laws get another look

A glass of wine at the spa? A craft beer at the farmer's market? Can B.C. survive the next wave of modernization?

Wineries such as Nk'mip Cellars in Osoyoos can now get licences for tasting rooms

VICTORIA – A glass of wine at the spa? A craft beer at the farmer’s market? Can B.C. survive the next wave of modernization of its archaic liquor laws?

These suggestions are part of a review of liquor policy promised by the B.C. government in its February throne speech and rolled out Wednesday. Richmond MLA John Yap has been assigned to examine regulations that unnecessarily restrict business, making recommendations to the provincial cabinet by November.

One proposal is allowing under-aged children to have lunch at a pub with their parents during the day, as they can do in a licensed restaurant. As well as considering licences for farm markets and spas, the review is to look at why it takes up to a year to issue a liquor licence to a business.

Letters are going out to 10,000 licence holders and rural liquor agency stores looking for feedback, and a website for public comments is to be added in September.

Don’t expect a price break, however. The terms of the review include ensuring that the $1 billion annual government revenue from liquor sales and sales tax is maintained or increased. The review will not look at privatization of liquor distribution, a controversial suggestion the government backed away from last year.

Recent reforms in B.C. have included allowing people to bring their own wine to a restaurant, and removing restrictions on buying wine from another province for personal use. B.C. has yet to convince Ontario and other provinces to lift their protectionist wine rules.

On the enforcement side, last year B.C. increased its fine to $575 for bootlegging liquor to people under 19. Two years ago, legislation allowed liquor inspectors to employ minors to test liquor outlets’ willingness to check identification and refuse service.

A University of Victoria study released Wednesday called for B.C. to impose a minimum drink price of $1.50 on licensed establishments and charge higher prices for drinks with more alcohol, to discourage over-consumption.

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Remembrance Day in Mission

About 1,000 people came out to this year’s ceremony

Remembrance Day: Mission soldier killed in action in 1943

Clifford John Vosper Kettley’s Halifax aircraft was shot down over Holland

Chicken Soup for the Soul author to speak in Abbotsford

Frances McGuckin at House of James on Nov. 14

Mission’s latest crime stats tell confusing story

New method of recording incidents has boosted some numbers, year needed for proper comparisons

Abbotsford’s Remembrance Days in 1939 and 1945 through historical archives

Abbotsford News reporting shows the anxieties of people living through conflict

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

14 SeaBus cancellations, free rides for veterans from TransLink on Remembrance Day

Free rides also available for current Armed Forces members, first responders

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read