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Saskatchewan earns C-minus 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 Saskatchewan to fix its uneven liquor pricing model and cut down on disruptive behaviour.

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN — 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 report, Saskatchewan failed to improve its grade from a C-minus due to a lack of progress on key asks from Restaurants Canada’s previous report in 2019, which called for a reduction in excessive liquor markups, wholesale pricing for all liquor licensees, and a liquor server wage. The province also lost marks due to the long, disruptive lapse in its policy allowing alcohol sales with takeout and delivery orders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This critical policy was unfortunately eliminated without consultation in July 2021, and was finally reinstated in November 2021 in response to Restaurants Canada’s advocacy efforts.

“Saskatchewan needs to take decisive action to provide licensed establishments with more meaningful cost relief and move ahead with a comprehensive review of liquor policies, as was previously promised by the government,” said Jennifer Henshaw, Restaurants Canada’s Director of Provincial Government Relations for Western Canada. “Restaurants Canada is also calling on the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority to improve communications with the province’s foodservice industry as struggling bars and restaurants continue to work towards recovery.”

Here’s how Saskatchewan’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 Saskatchewan raise the bar?

Restaurants Canada is continuing to work with the Saskatchewan government, specifically with the SLGA, 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 and reduce costs for licensed establishments;
  • Introduce a liquor server wage; and
  • Continue efforts to improve the process for ordering non-stocked products.

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, Saskatchewan’s $2.4 billion restaurant industry was the province’s third-largest source of private sector jobs, typically employing more than 39,000 people. Saskatchewan’s bars and restaurants are still struggling to rebound from at least $500 million in lost revenue and recover thousands of jobs in the wake of the pandemic.