Progressive Conservatives Loosen Ontario Booze, Gambling, Rules in First Budget

By Jeffords, Shawn | The Canadian Press, April 11, 2019 | Go to article overview

Progressive Conservatives Loosen Ontario Booze, Gambling, Rules in First Budget


Jeffords, Shawn, The Canadian Press


Tories loosen Ontario booze, gambling rules

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TORONTO - Those who enjoy a boozy brunch or the prospect of drinking in a park will find something to smile at in the Ontario government's latest budget.

The first fiscal blueprint of the Progressive Conservatives' term contains several measures to loosen rules around alcohol consumption in the province, while also liberalizing certain gambling and combat sport laws.

The province will allow bars, restaurants, and golf courses to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m., seven days a week, and is promising consultations on a further increase in hours of service in the future.

The government will also let municipalities establish rules about where booze can be consumed in public, such as in some parks. Regulations are also changing to allow tailgating parties near sports events across the province.

Meanwhile, casinos will now be allowed to advertise free alcohol to "level the playing field" with American competitors, the budget says. And the province will loosen rules to allow licensed establishments to advertise "happy hour" promotions.

The government said the measures are meant to respect consumers by "trusting them to make responsible choices."

"The cornerstone of putting people first is consumer choice and convenience," Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said. "This is why our government is taking steps to modernize the way we sell, distribute and consume alcohol in Ontario."

The emphasis on booze comes as the Tories constrain program spending across the board in an effort to chip away at a deficit that stands at $11.7 billion.

The new alcohol regulations will also give wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries greater flexibility to serve booze at their manufacturing sites, with the government planning to scrap required serving sizes. …

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