Ontario Freezes Scheduled Beer-Tax Increase


TORONTO — The Ontario government is keeping costs down and supporting the province’s alcohol and hospitality sectors by stopping the estimated 4.6-per-cent increase to the beer basic tax and LCBO mark-up rates scheduled for Mar. 1, 2024.

This increase would have resulted from rates being indexed to inflation, which the government has consistently stopped over the last six years, resulting in approximately $200 million in relief. This latest freeze will be in place for two years until Mar. 1, 2026.

“Our government is constantly looking for ways to make life more affordable for Ontario families by putting more money back into their pockets,” says Premier Doug Ford. “From stopping increases to the beer tax to cutting the gas tax, we’re keeping costs down for businesses and families across the province.”

This action builds on the government’s decision to improve choice and convenience for consumers while supporting the beer sector’s transition towards a new alcohol retail marketplace. Starting no later than Jan. 1, 2026, consumers in Ontario will have access to beer, wine, cider and ready-to-drink alcohol beverages in participating convenience, grocery and big-box grocery across the province.

“Our government is building on its commitment to offer choice and convenience to consumers while providing certainty and stability for the alcohol and hospitality sectors,” says Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “As we prepare to transition to a new alcohol retail marketplace, this pause on beer basic tax and LCBO mark-up rates will help make it easier for businesses by providing savings for consumers and helping brewers to re-invest in themselves and their workers.”

In the months ahead, the government will continue to meet and consult with industry partners, beverage-alcohol producers and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth, safe and stable transition to a new marketplace. The province will also conduct a targeted review of taxes and fees on beer, wine and alcoholic beverages with the aim of promoting a more competitive marketplace for Ontario-based producers and consumers.

“The decision by Ontario Finance Minister Bethlenfalvy to freeze Ontario beer taxes until at least 2026 is fabulous news for brewers of all sizes, consumers and our hospitality-and-tourism partners,” says CJ Hélie, president of Beer Canada. “Minister Bethlenfalvy’s commitment to beer price and tax stability at this time of an affordability crisis for many Ontario families and businesses is the right decision at the right time.”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.