Ontario quarantines its wine industry for another year

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Oh Ontario. More news to file until the “Not really that surprising” category.

Ontario’s Ford government has extended the restriction on receiving interprovincial shipments of wine through their regulations. Wine lawyer Mark Hicken posted today that the Ontario government has amended the law to restrict wine shipments from outside of the province for another year until June 30, 2021. While this was expected to be good news for the wine industry here in B.C., people in the industry that I’ve spoken with were cautiously optimistic about the possibility of Ontario being open for receiving wine shipments directly.

So much for optimism. Aren’t right-wing free-market governments supposed to want less government interference when it comes to their markets? Or is it only when it suits them? Ontario wineries are able to freely publicize their shipping rates to other provinces on their website. Malivoire Wine Company, Cave Spring Cellars, and Fielding Estate Winery all have references to shipping outside of Ontario stated publicly on their websites. Although they are all very different, Malivoire and Cave Spring both specifically list B.C. as a province that can receive shipments of wine. It seems that Ontario is quite willing to sell wines anywhere in Canada but not allow their residents to receive wines from outside. That’s a bit one sided, don’t you think?

Governments don’t just change regulations for nothing. Somebody obviously wanted this done and probably had to work to have the deadline extended. Who would want to do that? Who would be able to do that? Who would be able to excert that kind of force so quietly that this tiny ammendment appears 2 days before the deadline?

Hopefully questions like this will come to light at some point as time goes on. As people are getting used to making regular purchases online, they will be less likely to accept petty restrictions on their purchasing. Governments that are currently in power now should best to take note of that if they want to stay in power. Until the government changes or they wise up to the reality of the new world, Ontario’s wine lovers will continue to be in quarantine for another year.



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