The BC Wine Institute is challenging the constitutionality of Alberta’s ban on the importation of BC wine.
The Institute says the ban is severely harming BC wineries and grape growers, many of which are small, family-owned operations.
It’s looking for an injunction against the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to halt the ban.
President and CEO Miles Prodan says the Institute regrets having to take legal action, but the livlihood of the more than 12 thousand people employed in the industry is at risk.
Prodan says the ban also highlights a larger issue – the importance of free interprovincial trade.
“We believe it is unconstitutional to prohibit the import of Canadian goods into another province based solely on where they come from. All Canadians should be concerned, because if wine can be prohibited based on its province of origin, so can any product from any other province. We hope that the AGLC will take this opportunity to end the unfair targeting of the BC wine industry.”
The Wine Institute says consumers should be able to purchase the wine of their choice, yet provinces are divided on permitting direct-to-consumer shipments of alcohol sales.
It says industry research reveals that for every $1.00 spent on Canadian wine in Canada, $3.42 in Gross Domestic Product is generated across the country.
Producers also worry about the negative impact of the ban also extends to BC’s wine tourism industry.
According to a wine industry study, one million tourists visited BC wineries in 2015, generating $452 million in direct and indirect revenue for the broader British Columbia economy in 2015.
Prodan explained, “The BC wine industry has always had a strong and positive relationship with Albertans. Many visit our wineries each year and our wines have long been appreciated by consumers. Our provinces share a long history of collaboration, strong economic ties, resilience, and pride for the products we grow. Because of the ban, that friendship is being tested.”