Canada increases limit on interprovincial alcohol sales

The Canadian provinces have agreed to raise the personal limit on alcohol carried across provincial borders but many restrictions remain in place.

The premiers of all 10 Canadian provinces and territories met at the Council of Federation meeting yesterday (19 July) and agreed to double the current personal allowance to six cases of beer (24 pack), two cases of wine and six litres of spirits.

Currently Alberta and Manitoba are the only provinces that have no limit on the amount of liquor that can be brought in for personal consumption but the rest had varying limits with New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland having extremely low limits meaning a standardised limit across the country will have a much greater effect there.

The agreement comes as the Canadian Free Trade Agreement continues to be put into effect. A previous meeting on this issue had failed to reach an accord but a working group made seven recommendations earlier this month, six of which have now been adopted and will be approved today (20 July).

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that as it currently stands bringing even one beer more into a province than is allowed can result in a C$5,000 fine.

He said: “That’s the kind of antiquity we shouldn’t have in Canada. It restricts the free flow of goods across our borders.”

He added that wasn’t just alcohol that was affected by the lack of inter-provincial free trade either but all manner of goods and services.

“We are costing Canadian families $1,500 a year in lost income because of internal trade barriers,” he said.

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