News release

Amendments Support Restaurants, Allow for Personal Importation of Alcoholic Beverages

Amendments introduced to the Liquor Control Act today, April 1, are the first step to permanently allow third-party delivery of alcohol with food orders and to enable the direct-to-consumer interprovincial sale of beer and spirits for personal use.

The amendments will come into effect once new regulations are developed.

“Continuing to allow third-party delivery of alcohol with food orders supports our restaurant industry and their employees and gives more options to consumers,” said Colton LeBlanc, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services. “Those delivering alcohol will be required to complete training to ensure the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol.”

Employees of third-party delivery companies and those working independently who want to deliver alcohol will be required to obtain a delivery licence and take safe-service training. Alcohol orders will be restricted to three times the value of the food ordered, and the minimum fine for illegally providing liquor will also increase to $3,000.

The government is also making an amendment to prepare for an agreement with other provinces and territories that could see alcohol move more freely between provinces. The amendments regarding the direct-to-consumer sale of alcoholic beverages will broaden regulation-making authority that would allow Nova Scotians to buy those products directly from producers outside of Nova Scotia. Amending the Liquor Control Act and preparing regulations means Nova Scotia will be ready if and when a national agreement is reached.

There are ongoing federal and provincial/territorial discussions on eliminating barriers between provinces and territories. An agreement would also allow all Nova Scotian alcoholic beverage producers to sell directly to consumers in other provinces.

“Nova Scotia has a strong and vibrant beer, wine and spirits industry, and they have been vocal advocates for expanding the market for their quality products,” said Allan MacMaster, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. “We think it is important to show national leadership on this file and hope other provinces will join Nova Scotia in reducing these internal barriers. When they do, we’ll be ready.”

Quotes:

This amendment will deliver much-needed incremental sales to hard hit restaurateurs, allow us to serve customers better and modernize our legislation to bring them in line with other jurisdictions in Canada. Luc Erjavec, Vice-President, Atlantic Canada of Restaurants Canada

Quick Facts:

  • starting in May 2021, third-party delivery companies were allowed to deliver alcohol with an order of food while the state of emergency was in effect
  • Nova Scotia made similar direct-to-consumer changes for the personal importation of wine in 2015
  • in 2019, the federal government repealed the last remaining federal restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act

Additional Resources:

Bills tabled in the legislature this spring are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1

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