Manitoba earns C grade on pandemic liquor policy report card

Published July 27, 2022

Restaurants Canada has just released a special COVID-19 edition of its Raise the Bar report calling on Manitoba to keep up with the rest of the class on liquor pricing.

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — 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.

In this year’s Raise the Bar report, Manitoba failed to improve its grade from a C, mainly due to the province’s lack of progress on liquor pricing for licensees. While most other jurisdictions have either introduced or expanded discounted licensee pricing policies in the wake of COVID-19, Manitoba’s bar and restaurant operators are still paying more than regular retail customers for the same products at government-run liquor stores.

“The ongoing pandemic continues to represent the most challenging crisis that Manitoba’s foodservice and hospitality industry has ever faced,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada. “Restaurateurs have appreciated policy changes helping them improve takeout and delivery sales and Restaurants Canada is hopeful that the province will build on the progressive steps taken with the introduction of Bill 38 and receive a higher grade in the future.”

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

 GRADES
PROVINCE2015201720192022
British ColumbiaC+CCB
AlbertaB+BBB+
SaskatchewanD+C-C-C-
ManitobaCCCC
OntarioD+D+C-C+
QuebecC+B-B-C
New BrunswickC-DD-B-
Nova ScotiaC+B-B-B
Prince Edward IslandB-B-B-C+
Newfoundland & LabradorFD-D-C+

How can Manitoba raise the bar?

Restaurants Canada is continuing to work with the Manitoba government 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:

  • Make wholesale pricing available to all liquor licensees, for all types of beverage alcohol products;
  • Continue to cut red tape for licensed establishments;
  • Introduce a liquor server wage; and
  • Permit licensee-to-licensee liquor sales.

Visit restaurantscanada.org/resources/raise-the-bar-2022 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, Manitoba’s $2.7 billion restaurant industry was the province’s fourth-largest source of private sector jobs, typically employing more than 44,000 people. Manitoba’s bars and restaurants are still struggling to rebound from at least $1 billion in lost revenue and recover roughly 1,000 jobs in the wake of the pandemic.

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