November 2, 2015, QUÉBEC CITY – Restaurants Canada issued a new report card today, grading each province on its liquor policies and regulations. Raise the Bar assigned Québec a grade of C+ because wholesale pricing is not available, and because the permit process and bottle stamp systems are buried in red tape.

“Liquor policies in Québec must be updated,” says Jean Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada’s Vice-President, Québec. “The lack of wholesale pricing keeps restaurants and bars from providing their customers with an optimal experience. And many of the outdated laws simply don’t make sense anymore.”

Across the country, Alberta led the way with a B+ score, thanks to its practice of offering restaurant and bar owners a wide selection of alcoholic products at competitive prices. Newfoundland brought up the rear with an F, due to high prices, poor choice, and an adversarial system.

Full provincial results are available here.

The Raise the Bar report card is the by-product of a survey of Canada’s restaurant and bar owners who are frustrated with provincial regulations that control the cost and distribution of the alcoholic beverages they provide to customers. The report evaluates provincial governments across the country, and scores their support for the food and beverage service industry in four categories: pricing and selection; licensing and regulation; customer sales; and political and regulatory activity.

Close to all (97%) surveyed members of Restaurants Canada want to see wholesale pricing for the products they sell in their establishments, and 72% believe the cost of purchasing their product (often from liquor distribution monopolies) hinders their ability to do business. Less than a third (30%) say they receive value from their local liquor or beer supplier.

“There’s a lot of room to improve, but it’s not all bad news,” says Lefebvre. “The Québec government is looking to reduce the complexity of the permit system, and to eliminate bottle stamps. Québec’s liquor policy is headed in the right direction.”

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.


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