Ontario beer drinkers get reprieve from tax hike

Premier announces that two-year freeze will keep costs down while supporting hospitality and alcohol sectors.
Tom Venetis head shot
Handsome Young Asian man happy selecting a beer from store shelf

Ontarians have raised pint glasses in celebration with the announcement that a coming tax hike on suds is being paused.

The Ontario government announce earlier this month that it is stopping the estimated 4.6% 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,” says 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.”

READ: Beer Store expands Ontario alcohol delivery partnership with DoorDash

This announcement comes on the government’s decision that 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,” says 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.”

The province adds it will conduct a targeted review of taxes and fees on beer, wine and alcoholic beverages going forward.

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