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Bill to amend prohibition-era wine trade law receives royal assent in Canada

DBR Staff Writer Published 29 June 2012

A prohibition-era law - the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA), which controls and restricts the movement of liquor from one province to another, as well as its importation into Canada, was amended after the Bill C311 received royal assent in Ottawa.

In 1928, the IILA law was enforced by provinces as their liquor prohibition laws were removed by the government.

Bill C-311 amends the IILA and covers all wine, including wine made from grapes, apples, berries, honey and even dandelions. The amendment also gives provinces the authority to set limits on personal importations of wine.

National Revenue Minister Gail Shea said this is a positive step towards reducing inter-provincial trade barriers, and promoting jobs and growth in the wine industry.

"Eliminating the federal restrictions that limit Canadians from transporting wine across provincial borders will encourage Canadians to visit our wine regions and support the development of our world class wine industry," Shea added.

Okanagan-Coquihalla Member of Parliament Dan Albas said these changes are long overdue - wine tourism is also on the rise and removing this federal barrier will be a significant benefit to many small family-run wineries.

Existing provincial laws related to the importation of wine and alcohol into the territories which are governed by separate federal statutes will not get affected.

There will be no change for the importation of foreign wine into Canada. Other countries continue to have access to the Canadian market for non-commercial shipments of wine in accordance with the Customs Act, the IILA and agreements between provinces and the Canada Border Services Agency.