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Quebec bill will modernize alcohol rules: Restaurants Canada


Montreal– Restaurants Canada welcomed a new bill it said will modernize the Quebec’s rules surrounding the serving of alcohol by, among other measures, allowing customers to purchase drinks without having to buy a meal.

“We are pleased that the Hon. Martin Coiteux, Minister of Public Safety, stayed true to his word and that the bill was tabled in-time to allow for a full review before the end of the current parliamentary session,” Restaurants Canada said in a news release.

Restaurants Canada said it was encouraged to see several pro-industry initiatives in Bill 170 in the Quebec National Assembly, including:
·      A return for patrons being able to purchase drinks without having to purchase a meal
·      Extending patio hours for youth accompanied by adults from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
·      Introducing delivery permits
·      Flexibility added to regulatory changes

“Our industry is happy with the changes on liquor license fees and the streamlining of the required number of permits per establishment made last June,” says David Lefebvre, Vice-president for Federal Affairs and Quebec at Restaurants Canada. “However, a revision of the law was our ultimate goal. For too long, we have been asking the government to simplify alcohol operations. This bill and the provisions in it are a positive step forward for small businesses.”

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Our association also wants to thank Mr. André Drolet, MNA for Jean-Lesage and delegate Minister for small businesses. “Sometimes, small businesses need a champion who dedicate themselves to really help entrepreneurs. Mr. Drolet is definitely one of those people,” added Lefebvre.

However, some items of concern remain. For example, the « wine stamp » on bottles remains in place, reflecting policies that were better suited for previous eras. There was also a lack of discussion on discounts for volume purchases of alcohol by licensed establishments. In our recent Raise the Bar report card, this issue is what kept Quebec from improving its grade and ranking.

Regarding responsible drinking, our association awaits more details to comment fully. And while training for owners and some managers might be feasible, it should be at zero-cost for licensed operators and not extend to all liquor servers.

There is still much more work to do before this bill is ready to become law, but overall we are encouraged by the propositions that were put on the table today. We look forward to keeping our members’ concerns front and centre in our discussions with the government as this bill progresses through the National Assembly. Our association is also available to participate in what could be a Parliamentary Commission on Bill 170.

The association is asking all political parties to support the pro-small business initiatives to modernize the RACJ and simplify alcohol measures.