As part of B.C.'s current Liquor Policy Review, one of the topics government would like to get feedback on is refrigeration in BC Liquor Stores (BCLSs).
As part of a pilot project, walk-in beer and wine refrigeration coolers are set to open in three BCLSs at the end of September. These locations - in Salmon Arm, Duncan and Burnaby - are in addition to the 10 stores around the province that already offer refrigeration as an option. Later in the fall, the pilot will expand to include four more walk-in cold rooms within existing BCLSs in Oliver, Osoyoos, Mill Bay and Grand Forks.
Once these cold rooms open, the Liquor Distribution Branch will be collecting feedback from the public, as well as data on sales and customer visits. If the feedback government receives in the Liquor Policy Review indicates expanded refrigeration in BCLSs could be a worthwhile change, the data from the pilot would be used to inform a business plan about what that model could look like.
Phase one of the Liquor Policy Review is already underway with letters going out to major stakeholders asking them for written feedback and ideas for change. Over 10,000 liquor licensees and liquor agency stores will also receive letters in the near future.
Phase two is scheduled to begin in September when a website will be launched for the general public to see what recommendations industry and stakeholders are making, and to provide their own ideas for commonsense changes.
Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Review John Yap -
"We already know that a number of B.C.'s liquor laws are outdated and this is another area where we think B.C. is lagging behind other jurisdictions. Refrigeration units seem to be very popular with customers, but the public and industry will now have the opportunity to give us feedback on whether this is something they would like to see on a larger scale around the province.
"During our consultations and engagement with industry, key stakeholders and the public, I'll be listening for ideas on this and other topics that would allow us to make practical and responsible changes to B.C.'s liquor laws in order to improve convenience for consumers, promote economic growth in our province, and maintain or improve public safety and the health of our citizens."
- All other Canadian provinces offer refrigeration in most, if not all, of their government liquor stores.
- In addition to the BCLSs that offer refrigeration, there are currently 670 Licensee Retail Stores (LRSs) in B.C. and most - if not all - of them offer refrigerated product.
- Liquor sales result in over $1 billion (net income plus PST generated from sales) each year in revenue to government.
- The Liquor Policy Review consultations are expected to end by Oct. 31, 2013.
- The last major review of B.C.'s liquor laws was completed in 1999, but did not include a public consultation component.
For more on B.C.'s Liquor Policy Review and to see Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Review John Yap's terms of reference: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/08/consulting-british-columbians-on-practical-and-responsible-changes.html
Over the past two years, government has already pursued a number of practical reforms to B.C.'s liquor laws: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/docs-forms/ModernizingLiquorLaws.pdf
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement