British Columbians can now bring liquor back into B.C. from other Canadian provinces and territories without paying additional taxes, according to Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch.
The new importation limits per trip are:
- nine litres of wine;
- three litres of spirits; and
- a combined total of 25.6 litres of beer, cider and coolers.
Coleman's June 7 announcement came the day after MPs in Ottawa unanimously supported Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas' private members bill to phase out a prohibition-era bill that made it illegal to carry a bottle of Canadian wine across a provincial boundary.
That federal bill still requires Senate approval and Royal assent, both of which are expected by the end of June, Albas wrote on his blog.
Once the federal bill is law, all provinces are expected to pass laws stipulating exemption limits for the importation or alcohol across provincial boundaries.
B.C. was fast out of the gate.
"As another step towards modernizing our liquor laws, this change provides flexibility for British Columbians to legally bring back a case of wine or a bottle of their favourite spirits when they visit other Canadian provinces," Coleman said of his provincial government's legislative change.
"It updates outdated and arcane rules that most British Columbians probably don't know even exist."
Provincial liquor boards have warned wineries over trying to sell products online.
In 2010, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) threatened Mission Hill Family Estate Winery with consequences if it did not block out-of-province orders for wine on its website.
The federal legal change and corresponding new provincial exemption limits will undoubtedly spur increased business and web orders for many in B.C.'s burgeoning wine industry.
Business in Vancouver broke the story in April 2011 that broadcaster Terry David Mulligan was willing to go to jail if that is what it took to draw attention to Canada's law against transporting alcohol across provincial boundaries.
Mulligan then drummed up media attention as he transported wine across the B.C.-Alberta border without being arrested.