Canada: Budget de 2019 : Assouplissement des restrictions imposées au commerce interprovincial de vin et de bière

Bulletin commerce international et droit douanier
Last Updated: May 21 2019
Article by Peter E. Kirby

Loi d'exécution du budget de 2019(la « loi d'exécution du budget »). La loi d'exécution du budget prévoit une modification de la Loi sur l'importation des boissons enivrantes(la «LIBE») qui éliminera tous les obstacles fédéraux au commerce interprovincial de l'alcool ce qui permettra dorénavant son expédition directement aux consommateurs d'une province à l'autre, dans la mesure où la province de destination autorise également ce type de transactions.

Concrètement, cela signifie que le gouvernement fédéral n'interdira plus aux vignerons, brasseries et distilleries canadiennes d'expédier leurs produits aux consommateurs partout au Canada, ce qui permettra aux restaurants, hôtels et consommateurs privés d'avoir accès à des produits canadiens qui ne sont pas vendus par leur régie provinciale des alcools. Il s'agit-là d'une excellente occasion pour l'industrie des boissons alcoolisées canadiennes, qui emploie près de 20 000 personnes et dont les ventes se sont chiffrées à plus de 8 milliards de dollars en 2018, incluant des exportations qui ont totalisé près de 1 milliard de dollars1.

Auparavant, le paragraphe 3(1) de la LIBE interdisait l'importation ainsi que le transport interprovincial d'alcool par toute personne autre que la Couronne et les régies provinciales des alcools. Par conséquent, si la Régie des alcools de l'Ontario (la « LCBO ») ou la Société des alcools du Québec (la « SAQ ») ne vendait pas cet exceptionnel Pinot noir de la région d'Okanagan, ou l'étonnamment délicieuse IPA (Indian Pale Ale) d'une petite brasserie de North Bay, vous deviez présenter une demande auprès de la régie provinciale des alcools afin d'obtenir un permis vous permettant de les acheter. Désormais, seule l'importation sans permis sera interdite, tandis que les ventes « directes aux consommateurs » d'une province à l'autre seront autorisées.

Voici le texte des modifications proposées au paragraphe 3(1) :

Modification proposée au par. 3(1) de la LIBE Libellé actuel du par. 3(1) de la LIBE
3 (1) Malgré toute autre loi, sauf la Loi sur les missions étrangères et les organisations internationales, nul ne peut importer, ou faire importer, ou faire importer, dans une province de la boisson enivrante à partir de l'étranger, sauf si cette boisson a été achetée par ou pour Sa Majesté ou le gouvernement d'une province — ou un fonctionnaire ou organisme du gouvernement qui, en vertu du droit de la province, est autorisé à vendre de la boisson enivrante — et si la boisson lui est consignée. (Nous soulignons) 3 (1) Nonobstant toute autre loi, nul ne peut importer, envoyer, apporter ou transporter, ou faire importer, envoyer, apporter ou transporter dans une province de la boisson enivrante provenant d'un endroit situé au Canada ou à l'étranger, sauf si cette boisson a été achetée par ou pour Sa Majesté ou le gouvernement de la province où elle est importée, envoyée, apportée ou transportée, ou un fonctionnaire ou organisme du gouvernement qui, en vertu du droit de la province, est revêtu du droit de vendre de la boisson enivrante, et si la boisson lui est consignée. (Nous soulignons)

Avec cette modification, le gouvernement fédéral transfère la compétence en matière de commerce interprovincial de l'alcool aux provinces, lesquelles continueront de promulguer les règles qu'elles estiment appropriées.

Un des catalyseurs de cette réflexion renouvelée sur le commerce interprovincial de l'alcool a été l'affaire Comeau. En 2012, Gérard Comeau, un résident du Nouveau-Brunswick, a été arrêté après avoir acheté de la bière à Pointe-à-la-Croix, au Québec, et avoir tenté de la ramener chez lui à Tracadie, au Nouveau-Brunswick. Il s'est vu imposer une amende de 292,50 $ pour non-respect des limites du Nouveau-Brunswick en ce qui concerne la possession d'alcool qui n'a pas été acheté auprès de la Société des alcools du Nouveau-Brunswick. M. Comeau a contesté l'amende et l'affaire s'est rendue jusqu'à la Cour suprême2. La Cour a conclu que les restrictions provinciales sur le commerce de l'alcool pouvaient être constitutionnelles si elles découlaient accessoirement d'un autre objectif législatif légitime. La Cour a appuyé les restrictions imposées par le Nouveau-Brunswick sur l'alcool provenant d'une autre province, car la loi « ne vise pas à restreindre le commerce interprovincial [...] [mais] vise plutôt à permettre la supervision par des entités publiques de la production, de la circulation, de la vente et de l'utilisation de l'alcool au Nouveau-Brunswick »3.

En raison de la décision de l'affaire Comeau, les ventes d'alcool directes aux consommateurs au Canada sont encore assujetties aux lois provinciales applicables qui peuvent valablement limiter les ventes interprovinciales d'alcool, à condition que ces restrictions soient accessoires à un autre objectif législatif légitime. Les lois provinciales régissant l'expédition d'alcool directement aux consommateurs varient grandement sur le fond et la forme. Par exemple, d'ouest en est :

  • Colombie-Britannique : Seul le vin 100 % canadien peut être directement expédié aux consommateurs à partir d'un vignoble titulaire d'un permis, tel que le prévoit la Liquor Possession Regulation4;
  • Alberta : Les boissons alcoolisées pour usage ou consommation à des fins personnelles peuvent être importées d'une autre province si la personne les a directement en sa possession ou si elles sont dans ses bagages5;
  • Manitoba : Tout vin canadien destiné à la consommation personnelle peut être directement expédié au consommateur dans la province6;
  • Ontario : La LCBO interdit aux particuliers d'importer du vin d'une autre province sauf s'il l'emporte avec eux et s'il est destiné à la consommation personnelle7
  • Québec : L'expédition directe de boissons alcooliques aux consommateurs est interdite, sauf si elles sont en la possession directe du consommateur ou font partie de ses bagages lorsqu'elles sont apportées au Québec et qu'elles sont destinées à sa consommation personnelle8;
  • Nouvelle-Écosse : L'expédition directement aux consommateurs est autorisée pour le vin canadien destiné à la consommation personnelle si le vignoble possède le permis requis en vertu des lois de la province, si 85 % des produits agricoles utilisés pour produire le vin proviennent de la province dans laquelle le vignoble a produit le vin et si le particulier achète le vin directement du vignoble qui l'a produit9.

Puisque les expéditions interprovinciales de boissons alcooliques sont toujours assujetties à la législation provinciale, laquelle varie d'une province à l'autre, nous vous recommandons de consulter un conseiller juridique pour savoir comment votre entreprise pourrait tirer parti de cette modification de la loi fédérale tout en respectant les lois provinciales

Footnotes

1 Communiqué de presse: « Le Canada prend des mesures pour éliminer les obstacles au commerce interprovincial de l'alcool »

2 R c. Comeau, 2018 CSC 15, [2018] CSJ No 15. Ce jugement a été largement commenté par Nicolas Charest dans son article intitulé « R v Comeau : Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Interprovincial Free Trade (of Alcoholic Beverages) in Canada » (2018) 1:2 Jus Vini 191.

3 R c. Comeau, 2018 CSC 15 au para 124, [2018] CSJ No 15.

4 BC Gov News, Communiqué de presse: « B.C. allows Canadian wines to be shipped across provincial borders »; Liquor Possession Regulation, Reg 204/2012, July 13, 2012. [en anglais seulement]

5 Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, Liquor Agency Handbook, guideline 3.27.1. [en anglais seulement]

6 Liquor Mart, « Shipping Canadian Wine to Manitoba. » [en anglais seulement]

7 La Régie des alcools de l'Ontario, Transportation d'alcool interprovinciale.

8 Règlement sur la possession et le transport au Québec de boissons alcooliques acquises dans une autre province ou un territoire du Canada, c. S-13, r. 6.1.

9 Nova Scotia, Importing Wine for Personal Use Regulations, NS Reg 267/2015. [en anglais seulement]

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