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Canada abolishes barriers on moving beer, spirits

Staff writer |
Canada Revenue Agency announced that Canadians will now be able to purchase beer and spirits in provinces where they don't live and bring them home for personal use.

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The measure removes unnecessary red tape and is expected to benefit independent breweries and distilleries in communities across Canada by opening up regional markets and generating jobs.

Amendments to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA) remove federal barriers and now allow individuals to move beer and spirits from one province to another for personal use.

Under the IILA, imports of alcohol must be done by a provincial liquor board or other agency authorized by the province to sell alcohol.
They were adopted as part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2014 and follow the government's elimination of similar barriers in 2012 in order to permit the interprovincial movement of wine for personal use.

Under the IILA, imports of alcohol must be done by a provincial liquor board or other agency authorized by the province to sell alcohol. This provision has not changed as a result of the amendments.

As provincial liquor laws govern the movement, sale, purchase and possession of wine, beer, and spirits within each province, changes to these laws are often also required to allow interprovincial movement. Since the previous amendment in 2012, both British Columbia and Manitoba allow personal importations of wine.

The Government of Canada is encouraging all provinces to support this measure and enact the necessary laws to facilitate and encourage interprovincial trade.

The IILA is a federal law that controls the importation of beer, wine, and spirits into Canada and between provinces. It was enacted in 1928 at the request of the provinces after the revocation of their liquor prohibition laws.

Under Statistics Canada, the beer and liquor stores and agencies sold 21.4 billion Canadian dollars worth of alcoholic beverages during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, up 2.2 percent from the previous year. There are over 485 federally licensed breweries across the country, and nearly 150 distilleries.

According to a 2013 study by the Conference Board of Canada, the beer economy supports one out of every 100 jobs in Canada and generates 5.8 billion Canadian dollars in government revenues in the form of product, income, and corporate taxes.


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