Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) will reach the Alberta government’s red tape reduction target of one-third, almost two years ahead of schedule.
Cutting more than 7,500 pieces of red tape for this industry has removed unnecessary restrictions on liquor sales, promoted responsible and safe drinking in designated parks and helped many businesses survive the recent pandemic.
AGLC board chair Len Rhodes states the organization exceeded its 2020-22 fiscal year goal two years ahead of schedule. Meeting the target of reducing red tape by 33 percent reflects their "deep commitment" to a modern regulatory environment that supports consumer choice, innovation and economic growth.
"These changes open up new ways for Albertans to consume alcohol safely and responsibly while giving our hard-working businesses more ways to serve their customers," said Red Tape Reductions Minister Grant Hunter. "A great outcome of our work with AGLC supported many restaurants that had to adapt quickly during the recent pandemic."
The province indicated in its 2019 election platform that it would reduce red tape by one-third by 2023. As of June 1, Alberta’s government has completed more than 400 red tape reduction initiatives removing more than 109,500 regulations for a 16.36 percent overall reduction.
The AGLC praised ongoing initiatives to accommodate restaurants, liquor distributors and their patrons during COVID-19 and beyond.
Key initiatives include:
- Enabling restaurants and other liquor licensees to sell liquor with takeout and delivery orders, helping more small businesses survive during the pandemic.
- Allowing Albertans to enjoy alcoholic beverages in designated parks responsibly.
- Accommodating liquor distributors to host virtual tastings.
- Supporting liquor manufacturers to offer complimentary sealed liquor samples for consumption at home.
- Consolidating, updating and removing duplicate and overlapping policy requirements for raffle events.
The Alberta government said these initiatives are "making life easier" for consumers and Alberta businesses.
"Our members appreciated how quickly AGLC stepped up to help licensees by giving our restaurants safe options for liquor take out and delivery at the outset of the pandemic when on-premise dining was suspended. They then further revised the regulation to include pre-mixed cocktails at our members’ request," said Mark von Schellwitz, vice president for Western Canada, Restaurants Canada.
These initiatives helped businesses during the pandemic to remain in place and offer Albertans more options to enjoy alcoholic beverages in safe and socially responsible ways. For example, takeout and delivery became a crucial part of their sales mix, enabling many to survive during the worst of the past 16 months.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) commended the AGLC and the Alberta government for following through on their commitment to reducing red tape by one-third. CFIB Alberta provincial affairs director Annie Dormuth said "unnecessary regulation" consistently ranked as a top concern for its members.
"It is critical for economic recovery that governments continue their efforts to make red tape reduction a priority," she continued.
CFIB recently awarded AGLC with its annual Golden Scissors award for allowing businesses to sell alcohol with delivery and takeout safely within days of Alberta imposing its first COVID restrictions – a lifeline for the province’s restaurants.
Dormuth concluded that she looks forward to subsequent red tape reduction, citing it's a "low-cost" way to stimulate the economy while protecting needed regulation.
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