B.C. amends liquor laws so charities can auction booze
Christine Tam , CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, October 26, 2012 10:27AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, October 26, 2012 9:46PM PDT
The B.C. government has announced it will amend the province’s outdated liquor laws that prohibited philanthropists from auctioning off booze, but the change comes too little, too late for one charity.
The issue came to light after the Belfry Theatre in Victoria was denied a Special Occasion License to auction off donated wine.
Mark Dusseault, publicist for the Belfry Theatre, said they are pleased the change has been made so quickly, but it comes too late.
“It’s not going to help us for Crush [the charity's annual wine fundraiser] as we had to cancel it, and even with how things were playing out we didn’t feel confident in going ahead. It would have been breaking the law,” Dussealt said.
Dusseault said they will plan another wine fundraiser in the coming months. “We have to start from ground zero,” he said.
Rich Coleman, B.C.’s minister responsible for liquor, said in a statement Friday the government will amend the law permanently and until then will use a common sense approach to allow non-profit organizations to fundraise using liquor.
"From time to time, we find outdated liquor policies that may have been relevant at a particular time in history but don't work today,” Coleman said. “Our goal is to get rid of these outdated liquor laws that unnecessarily restrict British Columbians and to regulate alcohol responsibly in the process."
The new approach will allow charities to auction off alcohol as part of gift baskets provided there are other items in the basket and the liquor has been commercially produced. The liquor is also not allowed to be consumed at the event.
Previously, law required all libations used in silent auctions and similar fundraising events to be bought from a government liquor store or other approved outlet such as a B.C. winery.
Coleman said charities wishing to fundraise using only liquor will have to wait until the new legislation is in place.