Wine, beer and alcohol in Canada: prohibition the Canadian way


Germain Belzile

Germain Belzile is on the faculty of the Department of Applied Economics at HEC Montreal and is Senior Associate Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute. At HEC Montreal, his teaching duties include the graduate course on Cultural Economics as well as coordinating and teaching the mandatory graduate course on Great economists and sociologists. He is currently doing research on subsidies and directorial choices in dance companies. At the MEI, his research focuses on public policies.

The history of alcohol regulation and prohibition in Canada is a long and complicated one. In the 1910’s, rising anti-alcohol public opinion led the Federal government to enact temperance laws that almost imitated American style prohibition. Provincial governments eventually created provincial monopolies and regulations. There is actually a mosaic of provincial regulations that make it very difficult for producers in and outside Canada to sell their products. This text examines the history and present state of law and regulation in Canada. It also looks at recent events, among which the privation of retail sales in Alberta and the Supreme Court case on the prohibition of selling across provincial borders. It concludes with possible avenues of empirical research and some views on the future of alcohol regulation in Canada.

This post is also available in French