Competition commissioner urges B.C. to change liquor policy, lowering prices

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OTTAWA — Canada’s interim competition commissioner is urging B.C. to change its liquor policy to allow more competition, spark innovation and lower prices.

Matthew Boswell writes in an open letter to B.C.’s Attorney General David Eby that the province’s current policy restricts competition, raises consumer prices and limits access to specialty products.

B.C. requires restaurants, bars and hotels to purchase alcohol products at retail prices from government-owned stores.

Boswell says he supports recommendations that hospitality providers should be able to buy alcohol products from any licensed source in the province, including private retailers, and they should pay “a proper wholesale price.”

Those two recommendations were made in an April 2018 report commissioned by the provincial government as part of its ongoing review of the provincial liquor policy.

Boswell, who applauded B.C.’s efforts to review its policy, says those changes would encourage more competition and lead to more choice for consumers and lower prices.

The Canadian Press