Homemade beer at weddings, ability to drink in parks just some potential changes coming to Sask. liquor laws
The Government of Saskatchewan is proposing further relaxation of liquor laws in the province.
The changes proposed by the government on Monday include consumption of alcohol in parks and the serving of homemade beer and wine at weddings.
According to Lori Carr, Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming, the amendments to the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation Act, 1997 is meant to modernize the laws in the province.
"Reducing red tape in Saskatchewan's liquor laws increases flexibility for the public and creates new opportunities for communities and business,” Carr said.
The changes to the legislation include:
- Giving municipalities and park authorities the discretion to designate outdoor public spaces for consumption of alcohol.
- Simplifying recorking provisions for permittees.
- Allowing homemade beer, wine and cider to be served at family events that are permitted with a special occasion permit, including products made at a U-Brew/U-Vin facility.
- Removing the requirement for applicants to publish their intentions to obtain a liquor permit in local newspapers.
When asked about the effects relaxing the liquor laws will have on communities, Carr said it will be up to municipalities to judge whether or not to allow consumption in more areas.
“Well I think the municipalities that decide to allow this permitting to happen will know whether the people in their communities can handle that responsibility,” she told reporters on Monday.
“They have the opportunity to draft them the way they want. If they feel it’s appropriate to allow alcohol to be drank in a park then they can make that permit. If they don’t want that to happen then they don’t have to.”
For liquor consumption rules in provincial parks, the government will not institute any provincial wide guidelines, but leave it up to the individual parks to make that decision based on safety factors.
When asked if the new rulings around homemade beer, wine and ciders would open the door to legal moonshine production, Carr said the amendments would not change the current rules surrounding moonshine.
“It's illegal to do that right now and there’s no consideration of that at this time,” she said.
This marks the second time in 2022 the Government of Saskatchewan has tried to amend the laws surrounding alcohol consumption in the province.
A previous attempt in the spring was struck down after the Saskatchewan NDP called for more consultation with the public before changing the law.
“We are continuing to engage with stakeholders and municipalities, my colleagues … have been engaging with stakeholders all summer long,” Nathaniel Teed, NDP MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin, told reporters on Monday.
“We’re confident that with those conversations, we can look at this legislation.”
Carr is sure the amendments will pass now that consultation has been done and the opposition is on board.
“We’re fairly certain it will go through this time around,” she said.
For Teed, the benefits of the bill are clear. However, he believes there should be consideration of the responsibilities being shifted between levels of government.
“We do realize that it is offloading that responsibility onto municipalities. I think it gives the opportunity for municipalities to look at this issue and see if they want to opt in and see what challenges that may present,” he said.
“I worry about passing the buck, just onto municipalities. I think there needs to be supports put in place but I need to review that further and engage with stakeholders.”
The bill is expected to pass in the spring of 2023 and come into effect by the summer.
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