Learn more about taxing retail sales of alcohol and see tax rates by province

Taxes and other disincentives on alcohol in cities

Issue
Use pricing policies such as excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages1,2,3,4

Action
Imposition or increase of taxes and other disincentives on alcoholic drinksa,1,2

Degree of adoption in 31 Canadian municipalities
Low

Current actions in Canada
No actions observed.

Local policy toolsa,b

  • Tax, Fees, Levy Bylaws

Examples of local actiona,b
Municipalities can introduce tax bylaw on retail sales of alcohol.

Taxes and other disincentives on alcohol in provinces and territories

Issue
Use pricing policies such as excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages1,2,3,4

Action
Imposition or increase of taxes and other disincentives on alcoholic drinksa,1,2

Degree of adoption in Canada
Medium

Current actions in Canada
Adoption of evidence-informed policy action related to taxation of alcohol across Canada is medium. Over half of Canada’s provinces and territories have imposed taxes specific to the purchase of alcohol. However, increasing these taxes on a regular basis to act as a disincentive for purchasing, like what is done for tobacco, has not been a strong focus of governments to this point.

All provinces and territories have implemented retail sales taxes on the purchase of alcohol. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Yukon have implemented additional taxes specific to the purchase of alcohol. Quebec taxes alcohol at a rate per millilitre of beverage purchased and has separate tax rates for beer and other types of alcohol.

New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Yukon tax the total purchase price. Ontario taxes alcohol by both volume and total purchase price and has separate tax rates for wine and beer. Please refer to the taxation summary table for more information.

Tax rates by province

Jurisdiction Tax rate as percentage of purchase price Volumetric tax rate based on cents per litre purchased Flat tax in cents
New Brunswick1 5%
Prince Edward Island2 25%
Québec3 Beer is 36 cents per litre and other alcoholic beverages are 72 cents per litre
Ontario4,5 Ontario wine purchased at a winery retail store is 6.1%
Non-Ontario wine purchased at a winery retail store is 18.1%
Ontario wine purchased at a winery boutique is 8.1%
Non-Ontario wine purchased at a winery boutique: 19.1%
Spirits: 61.5%
Ontario beer made by beer manufacturers
Draft is .7131 cents per litre
Non-draft is .8833 cents per litre
Ontario beer made by microbrewers
Draft is .3482 cents per litre
Non-draft is .3834 cents per litre
Ontario beer made and sold at Ontario brew pubs is .3288 cents per litre
Beer of all kinds, except draft beer made and bought at a brew pub or a secondary location of the brew pub is .17 cents per litre
Wine coolers are .28 cents per litre
Spirits are .38 cents per litre
Spirits coolers are .28 cents per litre
Beer, wine and spirits environmental tax on non-refillable containers, except draft beer made and bought at a brew pub or a secondary location of the brew pub is .0893 cents per litre
Saskatchewan6 10%
British Columbia7 10%
Yukon8 12%