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As Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction, my goal is to help Albertans and Alberta businesses save time and money by cutting red tape. Many of our efforts directly support the hospitality industry, making common-sense changes to liquor laws and regulations to expand revenue opportunities and continue to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is excellent to see Alberta remains “Best in Class” among Canadian provinces when it comes to cutting red tape to support bars and restaurants, according to the 2022 Raise the Bar report from Restaurants Canada. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate and highlight some red tape reduction initiatives that are supporting restaurants, bars and liquor stores in the province.
Working with Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) and listening to suggestions from Albertans, we have:
- Changed the calculation for the small manufacturer threshold for spirits to allow manufacturers to produce different lines of spirits up to a threshold, while maintaining their designation as small manufacturers. This change provides the nearly 200 small liquor manufacturers more room to grow their businesses before reaching their production limit, while providing the flexibility to produce new and innovative products.
- Created a new provision to permanently enable restaurants and bars to sell liquor and mixed drinks for consumption with take-out and delivery orders. This was particularly important during the pandemic, providing these establishments with key revenue opportunities when in-person dining was restricted.
- Amended policies to allow small liquor manufacturers to sell their products at a wider range of artisan and farmer’s markets.
- Amended policies to enable restaurants and bars to sell liquor on patios not directly attached to the licensed premises.
- Allowed Albertans to enjoy alcoholic beverages at select day-use area picnic sites from 11 am to 9 pm. There are signs in these designated parks that indicate which day-use area picnic sites allow liquor consumption.
- Rescinded the May long weekend liquor ban at 8 provincial parks, allowing adults to responsibly enjoy alcoholic beverages in registered campsites during long weekends.
These initiatives have supported over 5,300 bars and restaurants and over 1,500 liquor stores by providing small liquor manufacturers, retailers, bars and restaurants more flexibility and opportunities to grow their businesses and create jobs. They also give responsible Albertans more options when choosing to purchase or consume alcohol.
In 2019, we committed to cutting red tape by one-third and we have exceeded that goal, with the gross reduction of all inherited regulations cut by nearly 34%. On a net basis, we have now reduced nearly 27%. In doing so, we’ve improved the ease of doing business in Alberta, boosted economic recovery and saved money, but there’s still room for improvement.
Let’s continue to raise the bar! If you know of any red tape that continues to hinder business operations in our province, please share it with our team at [email protected]. With your help, we can make Alberta the freest and fastest moving jurisdiction in North America.