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Liquor laws changes help non-profit organizations

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
October 29th, 2012

The B.C. Government made it easier for non-profit organizations to conduct fundraising using liquor.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Rich Coleman confirmed Friday the Province will take a “common sense” approach that will allow non-profit organizations to use gift baskets or similar items that have liquor as one of its components.

The law will be permanently clarified by legislative changes at a later date.

“From time to time, we find outdated liquor policies that may have been relevant at a particular time in history but don’t work today,” Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Liquor, said.

“Our goal is to get rid of these outdated liquor laws that unnecessarily restrict British Columbians and to regulate alcohol responsibly in the process.”

The approach enables charities and non-profits to conduct certain types of fundraising, such as auctions, using liquor provided it is a part of a gift basket or an equivalent basket of goods. The liquor must have been commercially produced and must not be consumed at the event.

Presently, B.C. law requires anyone who sells liquor to be licensed and for the liquor sold under that licence to be purchased from the Liquor Distribution Branch or another approved outlet, such as a B.C. winery.

Charities that wish to fundraise using only liquor, without other items as a primary component of a basket, will have to wait until new legislation is in place. For those organizations, a special occasion licence will continue to be required and the liquor will have to be purchased through the Liquor Distribution Branch.

Quick Facts:

The B.C. government is modernizing liquor laws in B.C. because many federal and provincial liquor laws have been around since Prohibition. Changes made since February include:

  • Liquor in Theatres
  • Provides flexibility to live-event venues and revises liquor laws for movie theatres.
  • Corkage – Bring Your Own Bottle
  • Provides opportunities for restaurant customers that want to bring their own wine into a licensed dining establishment.
  • Penalties for Bootlegging
  • Police and liquor inspectors now have the ability to issue $575 tickets to people found giving or serving liquor to anyone under the age of 19.
  • Personal Importation of Liquor into B.C.
  • Allows B.C. residents to bring back an unlimited amount of 100 per cent Canadian wine if it is for personal consumption and purchased from a recognized winery in another province, or choose to have it shipped from the winery directly to their home.
  • Allows B.C. residents returning from another Canadian province to bring back on-their-person up to nine litres of wine, three litres of spirits, and a combined total of 25.6 litres of beer, cider or coolers for personal consumption.

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