Raise the Bar

Learn how liquor policies across the country are impacting bars and restaurants. This biennial report evaluates provincial liquor policies within four major categories and assigns each province an overall letter grade based on how friendly they are for licensed foodservice operators.

Latest Issue: 2019

Free to download! Click here for access.

Raise the Bar is a report that Restaurants Canada produces every two years evaluating the impact of provincial liquor policies on bars and restaurants.

Report Highlights
  • Seven out of 10 licensed foodservice businesses say they would benefit from being able to sell alcohol to their patrons to enjoy off-site.
  • Alberta continues to defend its spot at the top of the class, with the friendliest policies for liquor licensees. Meanwhile, the cost of doing business is still much higher for drinking places in Newfoundland and Labrador compared to the rest of the country.
  • Currently, only restaurateurs in Alberta and on Prince Edward Island have access to discounted wholesale pricing on wine, spirits and beer. Bar and restaurant operators across the rest of the country pay the same as retail customers, and in some cases even more, for at least some types of alcohol.
  • Outdated laws and regulations that are out of step with modern business practices are still on the books in every province. Liquor rules have not kept pace with evolving market conditions, leaving licensees poorly positioned to survive and thrive in today’s landscape, let alone prepare for the future.
  • The amount of tax collected on liquor in Canada is among the highest in the world. 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.
Interested in participating in the next Raise the Bar report?


Restaurants Canada encourages licensed foodservice operators to participate in the biennial Raise the Bar survey to ensure results referenced in this report continue to reflect an accurate representation of our industry. Contact Chris Elliott at celliott@restaurantscanada.org to receive the next survey.

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