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Monday, December 12, 2011

Passage of Bill C-311 at Second Reading, Interprovincial Importation of Wine for Personal Use, Important Step Forward


Passage of Bill C-311 at Second Reading, Interprovincial Importation of Wine for Personal Use, Important Step Forward
VICTORIA –Following the passage of Bill C-311 at second reading today provincial legislators need to match federal efforts to strike down interprovincial trade barriers that impact our wine industry, New Democrats said today.
"Bill C-311 moving forward is a positive step towards modernizing rules that currently stymie small and mid size wineries from expanding their sales and profile through online sales and shipments to out of province customers. Breaking down interprovincial trade barriers also requires B.C. taking a lead role in convincing other provinces that these laws need to be changed," said New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.
The 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act forbids wine from crossing provincial borders except when it is received by a provincial liquor board, a rule that disproportionately affects smaller wineries that cannot get shelf space at provincial liquor stores. Bill C 311, introduced by Okanagan MP Don Albas this fall, amends the statute to allow for a personal exemption so out of province consumers can receive on line orders, and legally return with vintages after their travels.
Changing the federal law is one step towards dismantling this barrier, since establishing the personal exemption rests with provincial governments.
Ottawa has also expressed that amending the IILA will require the consent of all the provinces.
"We need to keeping building the momentum necessary to revise this antiquated rule, which is affecting small business owners from the Okanagan, and other parts of the province where there is a growing wine industry such as Vancouver Island," said Lana Popham, New Democrat agriculture critic.
Currently there are members from all federal parties, include NDP MPs Jean Crowder and Randall Garrison, who are strongly supporting these changes the ILLA. The B.C. New Democrats have contacted the Ontario Premier's office to press the case that it supports a personal exemption limit so boutique wineries can directly ship to consumers. However, the Ontario Liquor Board is reportedly opposed to consumers directly ordering a limited quantity of wine for personal enjoyment from vineyards.
"We are planning to approach other provincial governments on this issue on behalf of our wine industry. The official opposition also hopes that the current Premier, Christy Clark, will express public support for breaking down the interprovincial trade barriers on wine at a national level and during meetings with other premiers," added Popham.

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