For Immediate Release
Nov. 28, 2013
Ministry of Justice
Grocery store liquor sales recommended for B.C.
VANCOUVER – Consistent with support voiced by three-quarters of respondents during the just-concluded Liquor Policy Review, Parliamentary Secretary John Yap is endorsing liquor sales in grocery stores.
Yap announced today that his final report recommends government move forward on developing and implementing a retail model that meets consumer demands for greater accessibility, while maintaining B.C.’s high standards for protecting health and public safety.
In doing this, B.C. should maintain the current cap on the total number of retail outlets in the province. In addition, he recommends it be required that liquor be separate from grocery products, ensuring continued restricted access to alcohol for minors. Both of these recommendations reflect the views of health and safety advocates that Yap heard during his review.
To provide public and private liquor stores with time to adjust to these changes, Yap recommends that the B.C. government adopt a phased-in approach to the new retail model.
As the Province continues to examine retail models in other jurisdictions that permit liquor sales in grocery stores, Yap will carry on in his role as Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform. He will support Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton in working to ensure that any new legislation, regulations and policies that are developed meet the spirit of his intentions and what he learned from his consultations.
Yap’s final report was delivered to Anton on Nov. 25, 2013, as per his terms of reference. Government has said from the beginning the report will be released publicly and remains committed to doing so. While some individual recommendations are expected to be released over the coming weeks, as there is some ongoing policy work that still needs to be completed, it is anticipated the entire report will be released early in the new year once cabinet has the opportunity to fully consider it.
The report puts forward more than 70 recommendations on modernizing B.C.’s liquor laws, focused on enhancing convenience and growing B.C.'s economy, while ensuring public health and safety.
Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform John Yap –
“During the B.C. Liquor Policy Review, I heard loud and clear that today’s retail model has not kept pace with consumer expectations. British Columbians lead busy lives and my final report makes several recommendations that will bring greater convenience to citizens, including moving to a model that will allow shoppers to pick up a bottle of wine or six-pack with their groceries.”
“I also feel it is critical that government maintain the current cap on the number of retail outlets in the province. By doing this, and by keeping liquor separate from grocery products, we can increase convenience without any increased risk to the health or public safety of British Columbians.”
Yap’s specific recommendations regarding liquor sales in grocery stores are:
· The Province should develop and implement a retail model that meets consumer demands for more convenience by permitting the sale of liquor in grocery stores. Government should continue to restrict the total number of retail outlets and require separation of grocery products and liquor. This reflects the views of health and safety advocates, and the acknowledged safety benefits of restricting access to minors.
· Introducing liquor in grocery stores should be phased in, giving public and private liquor stores time to adjust to the new retail model.
While the comments are now closed, the B.C. Liquor Policy Review website site will remain active so British Columbians can continue to review the blog and its comments, Liquor 101 content and stakeholder submissions:
Read about government’s commitment to study liquor sales in grocery stores:
Read about the B.C. Liquor Policy Review’s public and stakeholder engagement process:
Read about other practical reforms made to B.C.'s liquor laws over the past two years: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/docs-forms/ModernizingLiquorLaws.pdf
To learn more about the rules for liquor licensing in B.C, visit: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/LLinBC/index.htm
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
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