The WGC strives to support the reduction of domestic and international barriers to trade to support the success of Canada’s wine industry in a market free of trade-distorting factors.
As Canada’s wine industry expands, the potential for export opportunities continues to grow. Building our export potential and addressing restrictive trade barriers will require concerted and consistent efforts between the WGC, the Canadian government and international organizations to gain advantageous market access around the world.
Canadian wines continue to face substantial competition in the international market from established wine-producing countries and cannot afford to be hindered by restrictive trade practices. Strategic priorities include:
- Fair access to global markets
- Intellectual property and trademark protection
- Advocacy and exchange with government, industry and international wine organizations (APEC, World Wine Trade Group, FIVS, International Organization of Wine and Vines, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization) on issues including wine standards, labelling, health and safety, trade, etc)
- Counterfeit Icewine and the protection of Icewine interests in key markets
VQA Trademark Certification
Protection of the certification mark “VQA” (Vintners Quality Alliance) in key international markets indicates that these wine products are of a defined standard and quality. Trademark protection in more target markets, in particular Asian markets, are critical where counterfeit products are prevalent.
WGC has achieved approval for the “VQA” certification mark in several key export markets. The countries in which certification is being pursued matches the industry’s export priorities. Failure to diligently protect the “VQA” mark could result in loss of control in domestic and key export markets.
Domestic Trade Barriers
Better positioning Canada to compete for market opportunities requires action at home. A fragmented regulatory environment for internal trade and commerce continues to restrict business potential across Canada.
The authority to operate provincial liquor boards is based on federal law enacted in 1928, the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA), which requires that all wine, beer and distilled spirits be purchased by or on behalf of the provincial government and be consigned to the provincial government upon entry into the province. Under the current system, it is technically illegal in most jurisdictions to have wine shipped directly from a winery in another province.
The WGC supports the facilitation of trade across Canada, the expansion of consumer choice and the growth of the Canadian wine industry. Since 2007, the WGC has advocated for changes to the IILA and on June 28, 2012, Bill C-311 “An Act to Amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act” received Royal Assent. After more than 80 years, the federal House of Commons and the Senate unanimously supported amendments to the IILA, making it legal to personally transport or have wine shipped across a provincial border for personal consumption.
While federal law supports the removal of restrictions in provinces that prohibit consumers from purchasing wines directly from out-of-province wineries, most provincial governments continue to restrict winery-to-consumer delivery across provincial borders. Currently, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, representing 19% of the Canadian population, permit residents of legal drinking age to have wine shipped directly to them from an out-of-province winery for personal consumption.
FreeMyGrapes: Helping Consumers Facilitate Choice in Wine
FreeMyGrapes is a national, grassroots coalition of Canadian consumers who seek to remove restrictions in provinces that still prohibit consumers from purchasing wines directly from wineries.
Twitter: @freemygrapes | Hashtag #freemygrapes
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