Quebec 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 Quebec to show more initiative on liquor pricing.

QUEBEC CITY — 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, Quebec dropped nearly a full grade, from a B-minus to 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, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) has so far failed to throw this critically needed lifeline to bars and restaurants.

“The ongoing pandemic continues to represent the greatest crisis that Quebec’s foodservice and hospitality industry has ever endured,” said Olivier Bourbeau, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec. “Competitive disadvantages compared to government-run liquor stores are only making matters worse. We are hopeful that our continued engagement with the provincial government will lead to better conditions for bar and restaurant operators on their road to recovery.”

Here’s how Quebec’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 Quebec raise the bar?

Restaurants Canada is continuing to work with the Quebec 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; and
  • Maintain the wage differential for tipped workers.

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, Quebec’s nearly $18 billion restaurant industry was the province’s third-largest source of private sector jobs, typically employing more than 270,000 people. Quebec’s bars and restaurants are now struggling to recover nearly $10 billion in lost revenue in the wake of the pandemic.

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