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Booze barriers coming down

Ontario policy change means wine lovers no longer have to down a bottle at provincial border
|Written By Glenn Kauth
Ontarians can now bring B.C. wines like Burrowing Owl into the province for personal consumption.

In a small victory for economic freedom, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has decided it’s OK for people to bring in booze from other provinces.

Many people, of course, might not have realized that you couldn’t take alcohol from one province to another. But this summer, the LCBO board decided that Ontarians can bring up to three litres of spirits, nine litres of wine, and 24.6 litres of beer into the province. “Most provinces hand territories have comparable provisions, though some have importation limits that are lower than Ontario,” a note on the LCBO’s web site states.

The change didn’t require legislative amendments. Rather, it was the result of a policy resolution by the LCBO’s board, says spokesman Chris Layton.

Critics, including many lawyers, have long decried rules in the federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act that prevent shipments of alcohol across provincial boundaries. But the latest LCBO policy change doesn’t apply to direct shipments of alcohol from a producer, such as a winery, to a consumer as the federal law remains in place. That means Ontarians can’t have a B.C. winery send wine to their home. Instead, they’d have to fly to British Columbia to pick up their nine litres to bring back to Ontario or hope the wine is available at their local LCBO.

The note on the LCBO policy change states that it’s legal for people to bring alcohol into Ontario “as long as it is for personal consumption.”

“The new policy should dispel any confusion that this practice is not allowed,” according to the notice.

  • Greg Poirier
    Let us all hope that this LCBO ruling is the "thin edge of the wedge" when it comes to relaxation of these archaic Federal laws. What would it take to drag those troglodytes in Ottawa out of the 20th century??
  • FreeMyGrapes SAGeorg
    [quote name="Greg Poirier"]Let us all hope that this LCBO ruling is the "thin edge of the wedge" when it comes to relaxation of these archaic Federal laws. What would it take to drag those troglodytes in Ottawa out of the 20th century??[/quote]
    The changes, while welcome, did little more than make legal the current LCBO sales to Quebec customers but do show that the pressure for change is mounting. The needed changes include the ability to do online ordering and join out-of-prov wine clubs. You may be interested to know that these particular troglodytes are provincial. The federal government is ready to move but only BC is willing to enter into the fed/prov discussions.
  • Derek
    Thanks LCBO for throwing ppl a bone... this is not a substantive change at all.

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