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Ontario earns C-plus grade on pandemic liquor policy report card


Restaurants Canada has just released a special COVID-19 edition of its Raise the Bar report calling on Ontario to keep up the good work on liquor pricing.

TORONTO, ONTARIO — 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, Ontario’s grade improved from a C-minus to C-plus. This was mainly due to bars and restaurants now getting a 10% discount compared to what retail customers pay for wine, spirits, and cider from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Unfortunately, the 10% discount does not apply to kegs of beer or cider, holding back Ontario’s overall grade.

“Restaurants Canada is encouraged by the steps that Ontario is taking in the right direction to improve liquor pricing for licensed establishments as they continue to recover from pandemic losses,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada. “We look forward to working with the province to raise its grade even further by our next report. Artificially high prices for beer remains a key area for improvement: The Beer Store still charges bars and restaurants a licensee price that’s 30% higher than what they charge regular retail customers, due to the current Master Framework Agreement with the Ontario government.”

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

British ColumbiaC+CCB
New BrunswickC-DD-B-
Nova ScotiaC+B-B-B
Prince Edward IslandB-B-B-C+
Newfoundland & LabradorFD-D-C+

How can Ontario raise the bar?

Restaurants Canada is continuing to work with the Ontario 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 licensed establishments for all types of beverage alcohol products;
  • Continue to cut red tape for licensed establishments;
  • Re-introduce the liquor server wage; and
  • Involve industry in upcoming Master Framework Agreement negotiations between government and The Beer Store.

Visit 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, Ontario’s $37 billion restaurant industry was the province’s fourth-largest source of private sector jobs, typically employing more than 480,000 people. Ontario’s bars and restaurants are still struggling to rebound from at least $20 billion in lost revenue and recover roughly 40,000 jobs in the wake of the pandemic.