February 21, 2018 2:23 pm
Updated: February 21, 2018 5:44 pm

Quebec loosens liquor laws to make it easier to obtain alcohol permits

WATCH: Quebec is announcing a modernization of some of its more antiquated liquor laws. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports.

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Calling Quebec’s liquor laws incredibly complicated, Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said Wednesday new legislation will simplify the lives of alcohol consumers and sellers.

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Bill 170 allows parents with kids to remain on a patio until 11 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., gives tourists the right to take a beer bought at the hotel bar back to their room, and liberates businesses open for a few months a year from having to buy a full-year alcohol permit.

“We want to enter into modernity with the laws that govern alcohol permits,”Coiteux told reporters.

“Current laws are appallingly complicated and rooted in the Prohibition era. Bill 170 simplifies the lives of people, simplifies the lives of industry. Who can be against this?”

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If the law is passed, grocery and corner stores will be able to sell alcohol one hour earlier, at 7 a.m., and hotels will be allowed to serve alcohol in the lobby or elsewhere outside their bar or restaurant, which is currently illegal.

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Coiteux started his news conference with an example he said he lived through.

“Imagine it’s a beautiful summer night, it’s five minutes past 8 p.m., you’re with your kids and you want to have a glass of wine on a nice terrace,” he said.

That’s actually illegal and it’s happened to me. Imagine the tourists from Europe who get off a cruise and we tell them this? This is what we want to change.”

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Current law forces non-citizens to be in Quebec as a permanent resident in order to obtain a liquor licence. The new rules will give anyone the right to sell alcohol or invest in a bar or restaurant as long as they have a work permit issued by the federal government allowing them the right to work in Quebec.

“Why should it not be legitimate for someone, who has the legitimate right to work here, to get a permit?” Coiteux asked.

“We have labour shortages and we need investment.”

Bill 170 gives the province’s alcohol board more power to fine violators of the law, including those who advertise alcohol to children.

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It also requires alcohol permit holders to take training sessions on the responsible consumption of alcohol.

Coiteux said details of the training will be given at a later time.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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