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Alberta earns highest grade on pandemic liquor policy report card


Restaurants Canada has just released a special COVID-19 edition of its Raise the Bar report calling on Alberta to keep up the good work as a liquor policy role model.

EDMONTON, ALBERTA — The grades are in: For the fourth time since 2015, Restaurants Canada has given each province a report card on how industry-friendly their liquor policy landscape is for bars and restaurants.

Alberta still ranks at the top of the class, beating out all other provinces with industry-leading liquor licencing regulations and policies governing how alcohol can be bought and sold. In this year’s Raise the Bar report, the province’s grade improved from a B to a B-plus after reducing red tape by more than a third for licensed establishments.

“Alberta continues to be a liquor policy role model by implementing reforms that make selling alcohol easier for bars and restaurants,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s Vice President, Western Canada. “To potentially earn yet another bump in their grade by our next report, Alberta should stay focused on reducing liquor costs for foodservice businesses, continue to cut red tape, and re-introduce a liquor server wage.”

“Alberta has cut more than one-third of its total provincial regulatory requirements since 2019,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “We are committed to cutting red tape for the province’s bars and restaurants, and once we cut it, we will prevent new red tape from creeping back.”

Here’s how Alberta’s performance record on Restaurants Canada’s Raise the Bar report compares with the rest of the provinces:

British ColumbiaC+CCB
New BrunswickC-DD-B-
Nova ScotiaC+B-B-B
Prince Edward IslandB-B-B-C+
Newfoundland & LabradorFD-D-C+

How can Alberta raise the bar?

Restaurants Canada is continuing to work with the Alberta government, specifically with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), to improve the liquor policy landscape for bars and restaurants. Here’s how the province can increase its grade by the next Raise the Bar report:

  • Reduce liquor costs for small foodservice and hospitality businesses;
  • Continue to cut red tape for licensed establishments; and
  • Re-introduce a liquor server wage.

Visit to download the full report and join in the online conversation with the hashtag #RaiseTheBar2022.

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada’s diverse and dynamic foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Before the COVID-19 crisis, Alberta’s $12 billion restaurant industry was the province’s third-largest source of private sector jobs, typically employing 150,000 people. Alberta’s bars and restaurants are still struggling to rebound from at least $5 billion in lost revenue and recover more than 10,000 jobs in the wake of the pandemic.