In Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, we’ve already seen government responses to our Raise the Bar liquor report card. And in B.C. Restaurants Canada is using the report card to renew our requests for wholesale pricing.

Here’s an update on the latest in liquor policy in those provinces.

Last week, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) announced the province will move to a private retail system for liquor sales. Don McMorris, Minister responsible for the SLGA, made this announcement to a group of media and stakeholders including Dwayne Marling, Restaurants Canada Vice-President Manitoba/Saskatchewan. These changes, which are likely to take place in fall 2016, include the following highlights:

  • 40 government-owned liquor stores will be converted to private ownership, and 12 new stores will be added.
  • All retailers will have the same wholesale prices and operating hours, and can sell any type of chilled product to public and commercial entities.
  • You’ll have access to a greater choice of products.
  • Although you won’t have access to wholesale pricing, the announcement opens the door to negotiating better prices with the retail store of your choice.

We believe these changes are in response to Restaurants Canada’s Raise the Bar liquor report card, and to the ongoing meetings we’ve held with the government on this issue, advocating on your behalf.

Saskatchewan scored D+ on Raise the Bar. We’re pleased to see these improvements, all of which will impact the grade Saskatchewan receives on our 2016 liquor report card.


Newfoundland and Labrador scored an F on Raise the Bar. In response, the province eliminated the $24 per case administrative charge for special orders. This means you pay $2 less per bottle of spirits and wine, and $1 less per bottle of beer and RTDs (ready-to-drinks).

We were thrilled to see this early win, which means more money in your pocket. And we think this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to liquor policy change in Newfoundland and Labrador!


In the meantime, B.C’s new wholesale liquor pricing model excludes restaurants. That’s not right! It means significant fluctuations in liquor prices, which is costly for you, since you constantly have to adjust liquor menu prices. And it’s why Restaurants Canada is asking for wholesale pricing and a model that permits more consistent pricing.

To that end, Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice-President of Western Canada, met with B.C. Liquor Review Chair John Yap and Assistant Deputy Minister of Liquor Control and Licensing Doug Scott last month. Von Schellwitz explained the liquor report card and the reasons for B.C’s C+ grade. He also made three key recommendations:

  • wholesale pricing,
  • a flat-tax markup system, and
  • the ability to buy liquor from private retailers.

We will continue to lobby B.C. for changes to save you time and money.


Restaurants Canada Members: If you have questions about any of the provinces’ liquor policies, or if you want to get involved in our campaigns, please contact Paul McKay on our Member Services Team: 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4225 or

Not a member? Join online now, or call our membership team at 1-800-387-5649.


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