On October 10, 2017, the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) was granted intervenor status before the Supreme Court of Canada in the historic case of R. vs Comeau. After a decade of efforts to remove interprovincial barriers to wine trade on behalf of small, medium and large wineries from across Canada, the CVA sees this as a critical opportunity to liberalize trade across provincial borders.
Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association, said: “Too many years have passed with little provincial government action, meaning it is easier for our American neighbours to purchase wine from a Canadian winery and take it home than a fellow Canadian from another province”, adding that this case provides “an opportunity to rectify archaic regulations which don’t have their place in a modern, 21st century Canada”.
The case could legalize the shipping of wine from a winery to a consumer’s door, and allow those visiting wineries the legal right to purchase wine from a winery and take it home with them to another province, both currently in contravention of the law in 7 out of Canada’s 10 provinces. The current situation limits the growth of Canadian wineries, denying them an important sales channel. CVA’s intervention, to be led by Bennett Jones LLP, a legal team with extensive experience before the Supreme Court of Canada, will ensure wineries of all sizes are represented and their views heard at this important case. The intervention will ensure support for small, medium and large wineries, for whom direct-to-consumer is such a critical sales channel to grow sales across Canada.