The government of Alberta is launching a trade challenge against Ontario over unfair liquor policies that prevent Alberta manufacturers from accessing the Ontario market. Alberta lists 3,700 products from other parts of Canada, including 745 from Ontario. By contrast, Ontario imports only about 20 Alberta products despite their market being three times as large. Meanwhile, Alberta products are readily sold in Japan, the United States and across the European Union. Alberta also maintains the most open liquor market in the country, with more than 20,000 liquor products available for purchase across the province.
Our Board of Directors recently co-sponsored a policy on Addressing Barriers to Interprovincial Trade which emphasizes the need to facilitate free trade between the provinces.
In addition to the trade challenge, Alberta is introducing a universal small brewer markup. Brewers who apply for this markup and produce less than 50,000 hectolitres in Annual Worldwide Production (AWP) will be subject to less than the standard $1.25 per litre markup. A markup of between 10 cents and 60 cents will be applied per litre based on their AWP. The markup rates will come into effect following the cancellation of the Alberta Small Brewers Development Program on Dec. 15. Production and sales counting towards the program will continue to be eligible up to the program’s cancellation.