Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. uncorks bigger booze import limit when you travel home from the rest of Canada

If you want to legally scooch back home from another province with more hooch, you’re no longer pooched.

Decision flows from agreement reached at 2018 premiers’ meetings

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has changed its regulations to allow residents to bring more wine, liquor and beer home from other provinces for personal use. (Rob Antle/CBC)

If you want to legally scooch back home from another province with more hooch, you're no longer pooched.

Residents returning to Newfoundland and Labrador from other parts of Canada are now permitted by law to bring back way more wine, booze and beer with them. 

Under the old rules, there were tough limits — among the most restrictive in the country.

Residents could import only a 40-ouncer of spirits, the same amount of wine, and two dozen beer with them when they came home.

Now, the taps have opened much wider.

The new limits are:

  • Six litres of spirits, or roughly five 40-ounce bottles.
  • 18 litres of wine, or two dozen standard-sized bottles.
  • 52 litres of beer or coolers, which equates to more than 12 dozen normal-sized bottles or cans.

The province quietly enacted regulations with the new amounts earlier this month. There was no press release or other apparent public announcement about the booze bonanza.

There are some conditions.

The liquor has to be "physically accompanied by the individual as it is brought into the province," according to the amended regulations.

And it has to be for personal consumption, although you are allowed to share a drink with a friend — as long as you don't charge them for it.

Premiers agreed to increases last summer

The decision appears to flow out of premiers' meetings held in New Brunswick last summer.

Provincial leaders agreed there to "significantly increase personal-use exemption limits," said Brian Gallant, then premier of New Brunswick.

CBC News reported at the time that Newfoundland and Labrador was one of two jurisdictions to balk at the increase. Yukon was the other.

Last December, the premiers announced progress. 

According to a press release issued at the time by the Council of the Federation, seven provinces were prepared to join Alberta and Manitoba in getting rid of the limits altogether.

Four provinces and territories were moving toward "significant increases to their prescribed personal-use limits."

As of this summer, the Council of the Federation reported that 10 provinces and territories had either already eliminated exemption limits, or planned to get rid of them. Newfoundland and Labrador did not go that far.

The board of directors of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation gave the green light to the new amounts, with the approval of the provincial cabinet.

In an emailed statement, the finance department said the change "will ensure increased flexibility for consumers while still allowing us to protect our local industry from illegal bootlegging."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Antle

CBC News

Rob Antle is producer for CBC's investigative unit in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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