Enacted in 1928 at the request of the provinces after the repeal of their liquor prohibition laws, the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (IILA) is a federal statute governing the interprovincial transportation and international importation and release of intoxicating liquors. This legislation controls and restricts the movement of liquor from one province to another, as well as its importation into Canada. By requiring that importations be made by provincial liquor authorities, the IILA gives the provinces the authority to control imports into their jurisdictions.
Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (interprovincial importation of wine for personal use) received Royal Assent on June 28, 2012, and was passed into law. The amendment removes the federal barrier prohibiting individuals from moving wine from one province to another when it is for their personal use. The amendment also gives provinces the authority to set limits on personal importations of wine. The amendment covers all wine, including wine made from grapes, apples, berries, honey and even dandelions.
It is important to note that supporting provincial legislative or regulatory changes are also required to permit individuals to move wine interprovincially or to place orders with wineries by telephone or over the internet.
The amendment does not affect the federal or provincial authority to tax wine. This means that it does not create an exemption from federal or provincial duties, fees, taxes or mark-ups, etc. As well, it does not change the federal regulation of wine or the reporting requirements for wine transactions by federal Excise Act, 2001 licensees.
The amendment respects the provinces’ jurisdiction to regulate the possession, movement and sale of wine, and does not affect the territorial regulation of wine, as the IILA does not govern the importation or movement of wine into the Territories.
There is no change for the importation of foreign wine into Canada. Other countries continue to have access to the Canadian market for non-commercial shipments of wine in accordance with the Customs Act, the IILA and agreements between provinces and the Canada Border Services Agency. Once legally imported into Canada, foreign wine will be provided the same interprovincial treatment as domestic wine, in accordance with provincial requirements.
For more information about the IILA, visit www.cra.gc.ca or call 1-800-959-5525.