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Unleashing the Economic Potential of Ontario’s Beverage Alcohol Sector

Ontario Chamber Network Recommends a Comprehensive Approach to Alcohol Reform in Ontario

22 July 2019

Wendy Bretz

(Windsor, ON) – Today, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce (WERCC) and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released a new report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario. This report outlines how the Province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol and responsibly promote growth across all four categories–wine, beer, spirits, and cider. This report was created with input from the policy resolution the WERCC brought forward at the OCC AGM in May focused on the wine industry entitled: Changes to Alcohol Retail in Ontario Needs to Support Local Industry and Jobs in the Wine and Grape Sector.

“Ontarians want to see a more modern, convenient beverage alcohol retail system and we are closer than ever to substantive reforms to how alcohol is distributed, bought, and sold in Ontario,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The report finds that, despite public support for modernization, reform is a more complex undertaking than it appears at first glance, due to the complexity of legislation and regulation involved. As the government proceeds with reforms to beverage alcohol sales, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and OCC underscore the need for a comprehensive approach to avoid perpetuating inequities in the taxation and regulation of wine, beer, cider, and spirits that limit growth.

“By removing barriers and levelling the playing field,” Rossi added, “The Province can unleash the potential of the beverage alcohol sector, support regional economic development, meet the needs of today’s consumer, and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services on which Ontarians rely.”

Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario provides the Government of Ontario with a number of timely recommendations including:

  • Modernizing the sale of beverage alcohol by allowing beverage alcohol producers to sell their products on e-commerce marketplaces and platforms using third parties to process payments.
  • Alleviating tax burdens by reducing taxes on Ontario wines, aligning taxation levels for craft cider with those of craft beer, and applying a graduated tax to the current spirits basic tax.
  • Cutting red tape by reducing the reporting Ontario wineries and cideries have to complete from a monthly to quarterly basis, allowing Ontario spirits and craft beer producers with a retail store to sell their products at farmers’ markets, and providing airports with an exemption to allow for the sale of alcohol 24-hours-a-day.
  • Removing antiquated inter-provincial trade barriers by allowing consumers to purchase alcohol online from other provinces/territories and producers to deliver these products to the consumer’s home.

“The power of the beverage alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail in all corners of the province,” stated Rakesh Naidu, President and CEO, WERCC.

Read the OCC’s report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario here.

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For more information contact:

Wendy Bretz, Communications Coordinator & Executive Assistant

Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce

wbretz@windsoressexchamber.org

(519) 966-3696 ext. 228

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