Saskatchewan

Sask. residents can now bring as much personal-use booze as they want back from other provinces

As of Tuesday, Sask. residents can bring back unlimited amounts of beer, coolers, wine and spirits from other provinces.

Government announced change Tuesday

Sask. residents can now bring as much beer, coolers, spirits and wine across provincial borders as they'd like, thanks to an announcement made by the provincial government on Tuesday. (CBC)

The limits around how much liquor someone can bring back to Sask. from another province have been lifted.

Previously, people were only allowed to bring back nine litres of wine, three litres of spirits and 24.6 litres of beer and coolers, according to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA). As of Tuesday Sask. residents can bring back unlimited amounts of beer, coolers, wine and spirits from other provinces.

Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison said Tuesday's announcement is part of a working effort to reduce provincial trade barriers.

"This is a part of the larger discussion around regulatory harmonization and regulation," Harrison said. "I really do think that this is where we're going to make progress nationally in knocking down interprovincial barriers, is on the regulatory reconciliation front."

Harrison said he hopes to see other provinces follow suit, but acknowledged that there is still more work to do, especially around beverage and alcohol trade barriers.

He said the argument against removing the limitations was potential lost revenues from the province, but that the reality for some residents is that the Alberta border is nearby. He said most citizens don't know there were any limitations in place.

Jeremy Harrison announced that limitations on personal alcohol transportation have been dropped on Tuesday. He said his team wasn't able to find any recent cases of someone being charged under the old regulations, and it's likely many people weren't aware of the rules. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

"The practical impact is going to be pretty minimal in terms of removing the barrier," Harrison said.

He said that, 10 and 15 years ago, there was a substantial difference in price between Sask. and Alta, however that's not the case anymore. Depending on the particular product it could be more advantageous to buy some bottles in Sask. instead, he said.

Harrison said his ministry was unable to find any recent prosecutions related to transporting alcohol between provinces and said the penalty was likely a summary offence.

'Ground to be made' on direct consumer alcohol sales: Harrison

The minister noted he'd like to start making ground on direct to consumer alcohol sales next.

"We do that with British Columbia right now, we have a direct to consumer bilateral agreement with British Columbia," Harrison said, adding the province is working toward a similar agreement with Ontario.

"Ultimately, this is a challenging area of public policy. I know on the face of it, it would seem like it's a pretty straightforward one, but it's really not, and it essentially has to do with revenue erosion for provincial distribution liquor monopolies."

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