The Quebec government tabled its alcohol laws modernization bill on February 21. Restaurants Canada was involved in the process from day one and participated fully. We presented a full brief, went into parliamentary commission and worked with our allies to get the best legislation possible. This is an issue we have monitored for years and we were ready.
One of the items our association has been working on for many year is the stamping system. In Quebec, all bottles, cans and other alcohol containers need to be physically stamped to be sold in licensed establishments. Of course, it is a huge hassle for operators, especially since they are held responsible for any non-stamped bottle in their establishment. This could mean a $10,000 fine for a single non-stamped bottle.
This practice was legislated in the 1960s and finds its origins in prohibition times – that’s almost 100 years. Modernization? Well, removing the stamps would be a step in the right way.
During the clause-by-clause study of the bill, the Minister of Public Safety, who sponsors the bill, has introduced an amendment to phase-out the stamping system over three years. This is a great step for our industry and we fully support it. This was a moonshot in our lobbying efforts and we are happy that phasing-out the stamps will likely be in the final bill. We hope final passage of the whole legislation in the upcoming weeks.