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As noted right here earlier, the Canadian Government indicated in its Federal Spending budget 2019 that it would amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (“IILA”) so as to take away the federal prohibition on the shipment of alcohol among provinces. The actual text of the Spending budget implementation bill was released final evening. As indicated, the Spending budget Bill carries by means of on what was promised. Section three(1) of the current version of the IILA prevents the shipment or transport of any alcohol into Canada or among provinces unless the alcohol is sent to the liquor authority (liquor board) in the location province. Amendments created to the IILA in 2012 and 2014 produced a restricted exemption from this prohibition if the alcohol was intended for private use and if the provincial laws in the location province permitted it. Handful of provincial laws have been changed to enable for the exemption (see Shipping Laws Write-up).

The Spending budget Bill proposes a more substantive modify. It changes the IILA such that it only applies to shipments coming into a province from outdoors Canada. In other words, inter-provincial shipments of alcohol are no longer topic to the IILA prohibition at all. The earlier exemptions are removed simply because of this modify in method. These reforms would imply that if a winery is generating a DTC shipment, then it would no longer be topic to any federal restriction on the shipment itself. The client in the getting province could be topic to any relevant provincial laws on the possession of imported alcohol (the constitutionality of such laws was upheld in the current Comeau case) as soon as the alcohol was received, but the actual shipment among provinces would no longer be prohibited. This is a constructive modify which will be welcomed by the wine market if the Spending budget Bill passes and the modifications are brought into impact.

I note on a sensible level, that if these modifications are to proceed, the federal government will have to pass the Bill prior to the finish of June, when the Home of Commons breaks for a summer time recess. This is the final scheduled sitting of Parliament prior to the subsequent federal election. There is also a news release on this situation: Canada Acts to Do away with Barriers to InterProvincial Trade in Alcohol.