Bill C-311 (Historical)
An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use)
This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.
Dan Albas Conservative
Introduced as a private member’s bill.
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.
This enactment amends the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act to add an exception allowing individuals to import wine for their personal use to the provision that requires that all imports of intoxicating liquor be made by the province.
- June 6, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act
Private Members' Business
October 20th, 2011 / 6:45 p.m.
Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC
Madam Speaker, I am very happy to rise to speak in favour of Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use), an act from 1928.
As a bit of a digression, there was a time in 1928 when these kinds of prohibitions created some opportunities in the area in which I live. The ship named Malahat was built in Victoria in 1917. It was a five-masted schooner nearly 80 metres long, which carried 60,000 cases of rum down to California. It would sit in international waters and then have small boats run through the American prohibition. We are talking about a law that dates from an era that is obviously a long time ago and a very different situation, a law which no longer serves a useful purpose and in fact inhibits the development of many small wineries around the country.
On Vancouver Island there are now 26 wineries operating. In order for those wineries to operate, they buy lots of things locally. They buy all of their agricultural equipment, fertilizers and marketing goods and they employ people to build websites. It is a very important link to a lot of small businesses in my riding in particular and around Vancouver Island.
It is also very important, as many have mentioned, to the tourism industry. People who come to visit my riding could start at Starling Lane Winery on West Saanich Road, cross over to Salt Spring Island, as my friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands said, cross back to Cherry Point Vineyards in Cobble Hill, Yellowpoint Vineyard in Ladysmith, Blue Grouse Vineyards & Winery in Duncan and come to the largest winery on Vancouver Island, Averill Creek Vineyards in Duncan. All of these are family-owned enterprises and small businesses.
As many have already mentioned, the peculiar thing is if people from British Columbia have a designated driver and sample the wines at each of the vineyards, they can take a case with them or order one shipped to their homes. However, people from Alberta or Quebec cannot have wine shipped to them or take it with them as they drive across the country. This is completely non-productive, which is the nicest word I can think of to use, for economic growth and development in all of these regions, particularly for small businesses that face the challenge of high costs these days.
One thing that is particularly difficult for wineries on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan are the increasing land costs. When a small winery is established, wants to expand and buy more land, it is very difficult, so it needs to make use of whatever revenue sources it can to develop its business further. If wineries were able to run online businesses and ship across the country, it would be important revenue generation, which would add very little in terms of costs to their operations. It might be the difference between wineries being able to survive as a family-supporting business and not being able to survive in the future. The damage the existence of this law has done is quite serious for small businesses and may become more serious as time goes on.
In contrast to the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla who is not a wine drinker, I will join the others who have confessed to being wine drinkers. My partner and I like to go on wine tours in the Okanagan. We have done it on several occasions, taking turns being the designated driver each day and stuffing the car full of bottles when we drive home. However, if we lived in Alberta, we could not stuff the car full of bottles.
On our last tour, some people I know who run a winery, one of my favourites, Road 13 in Oliver, asked me if they could ship me a case. I replied that as a newly-elected MP I would love to have a case shipped to me so I could entertain members with fine B.C. wine. They said that I could not do that. They said that they could not sell it to me, I could not advertise for them or promote the industry because of the existing very archaic law.
We drove across the country this summer through the Okanagan. If we had managed to stuff wine under the seats of our car, or put a few in the back seat next to the dogs and delivered it here, I would be unable to invite members for a drink later for two reasons: first, there might not be any left; and second, I would not have done that because it would be illegal for me to do so.
I make light of this because it is an absurd situation we are in, where small businesses that are doing very well in developing very high quality wines cannot market those to other Canadians in other provinces.
I look forward to this going to committee. I look forward to the debate on it. I look forward to the day when I can invite members around to my office to sample some of the great wines from British Columbia, but that will not be tonight.
Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act
Private Members' Business
October 20th, 2011 / 6:55 p.m.
Peter Braid Kitchener—Waterloo, ON
Madam Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-311, an act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use).
I will begin by recognizing the work of my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country on this file and congratulate him on his very important work. Members will know he has done a great deal to move this file forward and I am sure we will continue to work together to address this issue in order to help Canadians improve their ability to have greater control over the wine they choose and help an important Canadian industry to grow and prosper.
As background, for the benefit of all members, the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, or the IILA, controls the importation of intoxicating liquors into Canada and between provinces, as we have been discussing. The Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for the IILA, as it interacts with the Excise Act and the Excise Act 2001. Canada Border Services Agency administers the IILA at the border. However, neither agency administers or enforces the IILA in respect of interprovincial transactions.
Since 1928, the act has legally restricted the movement of wine across provincial borders. While this may have responded to the needs of the day, Canada did not even have a wine industry at the time. However, today fantastic wineries can be found in provinces from coast to coast. Vineyards are a fast growing and increasingly important part of our agricultural sector and they could be growing even faster.
Many of Canada's innovative vintners have earned worldwide recognition for their outstanding products. Indeed, Canadian wines are frequently the recipients of international prizes. These award-winning wines are in demand around the world.
Despite this progress and success, Canadian wineries find themselves in contravention of federal law if they respond to requests for their products from consumers in neighbouring provinces. That is because the IILA makes it a crime for consumers to purchase wine directly from vintners beyond their provincial borders.
Not only does the legislation penalize consumers by limiting choice and their access to Canadian wine products, it also hurts the culinary and wine tourism industry, an important sector of our economy in my home province of Ontario and in beautiful British Columbia due to the increasingly popular tourist wine regions in these areas. Wine tasting tours in areas like the Niagara region of Ontario and the Okanagan or Fraser Valley in the B.C. Interior are tremendously popular with domestic tourists and visitors from around the globe.
More important, this outdated aspect of the legislation limits wineries' sales of their products across Canada. This is particularly the case for small and medium-sized wineries that are just getting their business off the ground. Many wineries complain that the process of applying to provincial liquor boards to have their products put on the store shelves can be lengthy and costly. The last thing these vintners need is 83-year-old legislation that hinders job creation and stifles economic growth.
Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act
October 3rd, 2011 / 3:10 p.m.
Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use).
Mr. Speaker, in the year 1928 a prohibition era law was passed and to this day makes it illegal to bring a bottle of wine from one province to another.
Canadians are a law-abiding people who like to follow the law and many share a passion for our great Canadian wines. This passion for wine, along with the hard work of many Canadian families, have resulted in wineries now being located in every province across our great nation.
My bill proposes an amendment to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. This amendment would create a personal exemption from the act. This personal exemption would allow individuals to either directly import, send, take, or transport or cause to be imported, sent, taken or transported wine only for personal consumption. This is not for resale or for other commercial use in quantities as permitted by the province in question.
I would like to recognize the member for Kelowna—Lake Country for his ongoing work on this subject. I would also like to thank the many small wineries in my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla for their invaluable assistance in bringing this matter forward.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)