A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been released. The report, titled “Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario”, examines the economic potential of the province’s alcohol sector and how the province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol and responsibly promote growth across all four categories – wine, beer, spirits, and cider.
This issue is complex and transcends several ministries such as economic development, agriculture, tourism, taxation, and trade, to name a few. The alcohol sector has also changed significantly in the past decades with the emergence of craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries. Now in communities just like ours we are seeing businesses work together to provide a full circle experience around their products.
“The power of the beverage alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail,” stated Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
The OCC report includes a number of timely recommendations including:
The recommendations are rooted in three guiding principles:
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has presented solutions in this realm in the form of a request to government to level the tax playing field across the four alcohol disciplines. This was suggested in response to the higher taxes on distilled products. This resolution was part of the impetus for the OCC report as sale and taxation of distilled products continues to be a challenge. Some of the recommendations that mirror the ones from the Peterborough Chamber are:
The Peterborough Chamber also participated in a red tape project driven by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development to determine if a more streamlined approach is possible in the opening of alcohol-based businesses. The results of those sessions were presented to municipal and provincial governments.
The report also suggests that if the sale of alcohol is to be more widely available a proactive approach on its use is needed.
The report works it way to the conclusion that by getting the modernization process right, the government could unlock economic growth and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services Ontarians rely on.