GUEST COMMENT: Transferring wine across Canada remains difficult

Despite Bill C-311, inter-provincial trade barriers for wine-shipping are still alive and kicking.

By Laura Jones

My husband and I visited some friends in Ontario, and thanks to the recent passing of Bill C-311, we can now legally give them some B.C. wine as a gift.

Or can we?

Bill C-311 amended the 84-year-old federal law, dating to Prohibition, that made it illegal to carry or ship wine directly across provincial borders (for example from a B.C. winery to Ontario).

The law was a poster child for ridiculous red tape and long overdue for amendment.

For small wineries, Bill C-311 seemed like a godsend: explaining to customers why you can’t send them wine because they happen to live out of province wasn’t anybody’s idea of a good time.

Unfortunately, it takes more than just amending outdated federal legislation to untangle the mess of rules governing wine travelling across provincial borders. The provinces are involved in regulating, too.

The good news is that all provinces, except Quebec, allow individuals to physically take various quantities with them for personal use. It’s now legal, for example, for a Calgarian to buy a bottle of wine from a B.C. winery and take it home.

The bad news is that most provinces don’t seem eager to allow their residents to have wine sent to them from other provinces.

According to the Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions, which represents 13 liquor boards and commissions, right now there are only two exceptions.

Manitoba allows its resident to ship unlimited amounts of wine from other provinces as long as it is for personal use. The province had no regulations saying otherwise on its books, so importing was allowed by default after C-311 passed.

B.C. showed leadership among provinces by changing its regulations quickly after C-311 was passed to make importing directly for personal use legal.

If I visit an Ontario winery, I can now legally have as much as I like shipped to me (as long as it is for personal consumption and 100 per cent Canadian wine only). I can order it online, too. If you are a wine aficionado, count yourself lucky to live here.

I propose a toast to these two provinces for quickly and clearly supporting the federal red tape slashing.

Dan Albus, the MP who introduced Bill C-311, and Shirley-Ann George, who continues to push for more freedom for wineries and consumers through her website FreeMyGrapes.ca, also a Canadian Federation of Independent Business Golden Scissors Award for cutting red tape.

As for the other provinces that have yet to join the party, what’s the hold-up? Isn’t supporting local wineries and giving consumers more choice worthy of their immediate support?

Despite C-311, inter-provincial trade barriers for wine-shipping are still alive and kicking.

 

Laura Jones is executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She can be reached at laura.jones@cfib.ca.

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Coroners’ inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni teen rescheduled for June 21

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

Most Read