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Chamber resolution on distillery taxes endorsed nationally

Momentum is increasing to have Canada’s distilleries placed on an equal footing with other alcohol producers.
Delegates at the recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce conference in Saint John, N.B. gave 99 per cent support to a resolution from the Greater Vernon Chamber that urges the federal government to reduce the excise tax on distilled spirits to $1.77 per litre on the first 150,000 litres of absolute alcohol, and to match the excise rate in the U.S. on an ongoing basis on an ongoing basis.
“Chambers of commerce across the country understand the positive potential the distilled spirits industry can have on local communities and economies, but this growth can only occur if substantive regulatory changes happen at the federal level,” said Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber general manager.
“With an election campaign currently underway, we strongly encourage all political parties to embrace this resolution as a way of freeing up funds so distilleries can invest in equipment, facilities and labour, while also providing an additional market for Canadian grown grain and fruit used in distilling.”
Currently, a distillery in Canada experiences an excise duty of $12.375 per litre of absolute alcohol, which is equivalent of $3.51 per 750-millilitre bottle of spirit at 40 per cent alcohol by volume.
The U.S. lowered its federal excise rate for small distilleries as a catalyst for industry growth and the U.S. rate is now 14 per cent lower than Canada’s on the first 100,000 proof gallons or 200,000 litres of absolute alcohol. As a result, there are now more than 1,700 distilleries in the U.S., with the sector expanding by a distillery per day. Each distillery employs 20 to 100 people, has a significant spin-off benefit for suppliers and the excise revenue loss has been minimal.
Beyond this, the federal government eliminated the excise tax for Canadian wineries using Canadian agricultural products and there is a tiered system of taxation for breweries based on size.
The resolution was developed after considerable consultation with Vernon’s Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery and the Craft Distillers Guild of B.C.
Beyond the resolution on distilled spirits, several resolutions supported by the Greater Vernon Chamber were endorsed at the Canadian Chamber conference, including the need for lower credit card processing fees for retailers, the urgency of a renewed softwood lumber agreement, and aligning the Species at Risk Act with regional biodiversity conservation needs. The conference was attended by 300 chambers of commerce, representing more than 200,000 businesses in Canada.
Dione Chambers, General Manager    
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, E:  P: 250.545.0771