Nunavut supports liberalizing access to beer and wine
Suggests pilot project to allow sales of beer and wine in Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet
The Nunavut government supports liberalizing access to beer and wine in its response to recommendations from the Liquor Act Review Task Force tabled last fall.
But it recommends a slow and cautious approach to any changes in Nunavut's liquor act and liquor control system.
The GN is responding to the 195-page report from the Liquor Act Review Task Force. The report had 50 recommendations including cracking down on bootlegging, and liberalizing access to beer and wine while restricting access to hard liquor.
It also suggested more education and more treatment for alcohol abuse with more power for alcohol education committees.
But the government says that committees should be eventually disbanded altogether in favour of other control methods, such as a restricted quantities system. It also says the GN will look into options for interdiction lists in the territory and says it is reasonable that a person on an interdiction list would not be able to purchase liquor from the Nunavut Liquor Commission.
There's support for the Task Force recommendation to have health warning labels on all alcohol sold In Nunavut. The labels would also identify products sold by the Nunavut Liquor Commission.
The government's response suggests a pilot project that would open one of the territory's liquor warehouses in Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet to allow local sale of beer and wine.
If the project goes well then it could be expanded, though the government's report notes plebiscites may not be appropriate in making this decision as opening liquor access in one community also affects neighbouring communities.
The GN also agreed with the recommendation to create a government monopoly over the sale and distribution of alcohol but with some flexibility for special orders such as beer brought in by sealift.
The government agrees with an increase in penalties for bootleggers.
It also supports the continued use of plebiscites for communities to make decisions on alcohol and agrees with the task force that there should be a higher number of signatures required on a petition calling for a plebiscite.
The government says there will be a phased-in approach to any changes to the liquor regime. It says communities will need the necessary tools and time to adjust to the changes.