Review Of Liquor Laws A Step In The Right Direction Says Oldfield

On Thursday the provincial government announced the review of B.C.’s liquor laws with a request for feedback from key industry groups and stakeholders. Sandra Oldfield, CEO of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, says the decision is a move in the right direction.

Oldfield has been leading a crusade of sorts against the antiquated laws which make it easier, as she proved last year, to buy a firearm over the internet and have it shipped across provincial borders, than it is to buy Canadian wine and bring it across provincial borders.

In September, British Columbians will also be asked for their input on B.C.’s outdated and inefficient liquor laws. The goal is to find practical, responsible solutions that improve consumer convenience and grow B.C.’s economy, all while ensuring public safety.

Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap begins the first phase of this review with letters sent out today to major stakeholders throughout B.C. asking for written feedback and ideas for change. In the coming weeks, letters will also be sent to more than 10,000 liquor licensees and liquor agency stores. Following this feedback, Yap will meet with groups from industry, local governments, First Nations, police, and health and social policy associations throughout September and October.

TInhorn_Creek_detail_9“The recent request for a comprehensive review of BC’s Liquor Laws by the Premier is a step forward in the right direction to modernizing our liquor laws in BC. Helping to promote small business, farmers, our food and restaurant industry, wine educators and retailers means that the BC government needs to listen to stakeholders and work for change. I look forward to a day when our liquor laws in BC are not preceded by the work “archaic” but instead by the word “progressive”.”Sandra Oldfield, CEO of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

Phase two will seek to engage the broader public in the consultation process. A Liquor Policy Review website will be launched in September where British Columbians can provide their input to the review. This opportunity will assist British Columbians in better understanding how B.C.’s liquor system works today, and provide opportunities for them to explore balanced, common sense approaches for government’s consideration.

“Right now, some of B.C.’s liquor laws go back many years. In concert with industry and citizens, we are looking to make practical and responsible changes which promote consumer convenience and economic growth in the province, with a strong eye to maintaining public safety and protecting the health of our citizens. Once the public consultation process begins in September, British Columbians can let us know how they would like to see B.C.’s liquor laws reformed.”Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.

Some limitations to convenience and economic activity that British Columbians have noted include:

  • Not allowing minors that are accompanied by a parent or guardian into pubs that serve food during daytime hours.
  • Not allowing wines and other local liquor to be sold at farmers’ markets.
  • Not allowing establishments like spas to be eligible for licensing permits.

Taking upwards of a year to obtain a licence for bars and pubs. Following these two consultation phases, Yap’s report will be submitted to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice by Nov. 25, 2013. His report, which will be released to the public, will inform discussion and decision by government about any proposed changes, taking into account the need to balance economic and social interests with public safety and the health of British Columbians.


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