P.E.I. gets B-minus on 2019 Raise the Bar report card

Published September 10, 2019

Recommended liquor rule reforms could soon lead to further reductions in red tape. But restaurateurs are still thirsty for better prices and a wider selection of beverage alcohol products.

CHARLOTTETOWN – Sept. 10, 2019 – For the third time since 2015, Restaurants Canada has taken stock of liquor policies impacting foodservice and hospitality businesses from coast to coast in its biennial Raise the Bar report.

Once again, Prince Edward Island has received a B-minus, hanging onto its place among the top of the class but still with room to grow. The report outlines the reasons for this grade and provides a path forward for the province to achieve an A by creating the country’s friendliest conditions for licensed establishments.

“For more than a decade, Restaurants Canada has enjoyed a constructive relationship with the Prince Edward Island Liquor Control Commission, as well as elected officials working on the province’s liquor file,” said Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada.

“We look forward to working with the province’s newly elected government to further build on this groundwork and raise the Island’s already enviable grade even higher.”

Full 2019 Raise the Bar report card rankings:

Grade Province
B Alberta
B- Nova Scotia
B- Prince Edward Island
B- Quebec
C British Columbia
C Manitoba
C- Ontario
C- Saskatchewan
D- New Brunswick
D- Newfoundland & Labrador

Restaurateurs are still well served on the Island

Since the last report card from Restaurants Canada, licensees have benefited from a number of new liquor rule reforms:

  • Parents can now enjoy meals with their children at licensed establishments at all times (accompanied minors were previously prohibited from ordering a meal past 9 p.m. and were required to leave by 10 p.m.)
  • Cursing is no longer against the law within bars and licensed restaurants (a clause prohibiting “vulgar or profane language” was finally removed from the Liquor Control Act, but “disorderly conduct” is still prohibited; and
  • Many redundant and prescriptive regulations that were restricting licensed restaurant operations were eliminated (such as an outdated rule prohibiting counters or stools and another requiring table coverings).

The province worked closely with Restaurants Canada to introduce these changes as a stop gap measure on the way to a more comprehensive re-write of its liquor legislation.

After extensive consultation with industry stakeholders, policy-makers are now finalizing their recommendations for overhauling the Island’s alcohol rules and regulations. Hopefully the new provincial government will move forward with replacing the Liquor Control Act as soon as proposed legislation is drafted.

Survey says…

Compared to two years ago, licensed foodservice operators on Prince Edward Island say liquor policies are:

How can P.E.I. raise the bar for licensed establishments?

  1. Seek agreements with other provinces to improve selection. The small size of the P.E.I. market continues to limit the province’s ability to offer licensees a wide selection of beverage alcohol products at reasonable prices. The Island should explore the potential for purchasing agreements with other provinces, or the private sector, to help licensees access a larger selection of products.
  2. Implement new liquor legislation to cut red tape and reflect changing market conditions. It’s time to update rules that are out of step with modern business practices.
  3. Allow liquor licensees to sell alcohol products from any region for off-site consumption. Why should restaurateurs who are trained and trusted to serve alcoholic beverages within their establishments be restricted from selling those same products to their customers to enjoy off-site? The Island’s bar and restaurant operators are already permitted to sell P.E.I. alcohol products to go – why not extend this to products from any region?
  4. Introduce a liquor server wage. A wage differential for tipped workers allows restaurateurs to allocate more towards higher wages for non-gratuity earning kitchen staff, who are typically harder to attract and retain.
  5. Reduce excessive markups on beverage alcohol products. The amount of tax collected on liquor in Canada is among the highest in the world. Across the country, a cocktail of federal and provincial taxes and fees currently make up: Nearly 50 per cent of the cost of beer; between 65 and 70 per cent of the final price of wine; and up to 80 per cent of the cost of spirits.

Visit info.restaurantscanada.org/raise-the-bar-2019 to download the full report and join in the online conversation with the hashtag #RaiseTheBar2019.

Direct link to download the English report file: https://info.restaurantscanada.org/hubfs/Resource%20-%20Images/2019%20Raise%20the%20Bar/RaiseTheBar2019_EN.pdf



Media Contact:
Marlee Wasser │ 416-649-4254 │ media@restaurantscanada.org


About Raise the Bar

Raise the Bar is a report produced every two years by Restaurants Canada evaluating the impact of liquor policies on bars and restaurants across the country.

Provincial policies evaluated for the 2019 Raise the Bar report were reviewed within the following four major categories and, after analysis and weighting, each province was given an overall letter grade:

  1. Pricing and Selection
  2. Licensing and Regulation
  3. Customer Sales
  4. Political/Regulatory Activity

All survey results featured in the 2019 Raise the Bar report were compiled from more than 700 responses to an online questionnaire that was emailed to foodservice operators across Canada between June 12 and Aug. 26, 2019.

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. Canada’s foodservice sector is an $89 billion industry that directly employs 1.2 million workers, is Canada’s number one source of first jobs and serves 22 million customers across the country every day.

Marlee Wasser

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