VANCOUVER – There are many changes coming to B.C. on April 1 and while it may coincide with April Fools’ Day, these are not a joke.
B.C. liquor laws:
The biggest changes will focus on the B.C. liquor laws. Starting Wednesday, grocery stores can legally start selling alcohol in special sections of the stores. One of the first stores in B.C. to do this will be the Save-On-Foods in Surrey, at 3033 152 Street.
Government-run liquor stores will also be able to open on Sundays and will be allowed to match the hours of private liquor stores.
The way alcohol is priced in B.C. liquor stores will be different as well. Price tags will now show the cost of the product before taxes, which will be added on at checkout. It is still unclear how much consumers will be paying for alcohol starting Wednesday. Government liquor stores have stated their prices will remain almost the same, however, private liquor stores have always had the ability to set their own retail prices. Consumers will be able to see on their receipts whether there is a change, if any, on Wednesday.
All government stores will now also have the option to sell cold beer and wine.
Fees will increase on BC Ferries for vehicles and passengers starting April 1. Fares will go up 2.9 per cent on most routes. The fee increase was 3.9 per cent, but BC Ferries also announced a fuel rebate of one per cent. On the northern routes, between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, fares will go up two per cent.
On March 18, the commissioner of BC Ferries proposed fare increases capped at 1.9 per cent per year over four years — from April 2016 to March 2020.
Rates will increase six per cent, starting April 1. This comes after a nine per cent increase on April 1, 2014.
Clean Energy Vehicles:
Anyone who wants to buy an electric vehicle or a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle could be eligible for a rebate of up to $5,000 under the Clean Energy Vehicles for B.C. program.