Two-year freeze will keep costs down while supporting hospitality and alcohol sectors
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 that was scheduled for March 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 March 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,” said Premier Doug Ford. “From stopping increases to the beer tax to cutting the gas tax, we are 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 January 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,” said 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 reinvest 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 beer basic tax and LCBO mark-up rates are prescribed amounts of tax or mark-up added to beer sold in Ontario. The rates are scheduled to adjust annually based on a rolling three-year average of the Consumer Price Index for Ontario (All Items) as published by Statistics Canada.
- Previously, the government had frozen the beer basic tax and LCBO mark-up rates until March 1, 2024.
- Since November 1, 2018, the government has cancelled scheduled beer basic tax and LCBO mark-up adjustments, including a 3 cents per litre increase, and deferred regular annual indexation.