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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City seeks public input on new cannabis retail license

The application must first gather approval from city council before being approved by the province

City of Fernie responds to high water levels

The city is monitoring water levels daily in order to keep residents safe

Ready, Set, Learn bus excites incoming students

EIDES’s Ready, Set, Learn bus delivered early learning packages throughout Fernie

Deer fawning season begins in B.C.

WildSafeBC is reminding people how to react if they come across a deer fawn

The Fernie Academy hockey players sign to play in the NA3HL

Dylan Baker, Chris Consolozio, and Bowen Arola continue their hockey careers in the NA3HL

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Most Read