EDMONTON—The Alberta government is taking Ontario to court over liquor policies that government officials say are hurting local brewers.
Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous said that of 3,700 products listed for sale in Alberta that come from other parts of Canada, 745 of those are from Ontario.
By contrast, Ontario only imports about 20 Alberta products despite having a market three times as big.
“They make up 25 per cent of our market, in contrast to Alberta brewers make up .01 per cent of the Ontario market,” Bilous said.
“Having so few Alberta products available for sale in Ontario reflects the preference they’re giving to their local producers. To put it simply, it doesn’t make sense that it’s easier to sell Alberta beer in Tokyo than it is in Toronto. It’s ridiculous and it’s unacceptable.”
Bilous said Alberta has the most open liquor market in the country.
He sent a letter Monday morning notifying the Ontario government that Alberta is challenging them through the Canadian Free Trade Agreement dispute resolution process.
“We’ve tried to come up with a solution through conversation. They’re unwilling, so now we’re going to go through the courts,” he said.
While Alberta brewers also struggle to get their products sold in other provinces, Bilous said Ontario is the most “egregious” example.
More to come …