September 30th, 2020

MPP Gates introduces bill to support Ontario’s wineries

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) introduced a bill Wednesday at the Ontario legislature to create an exemption for VQA and 100 per cent Ontario wine from the 6.1 percent Basic Tax paid on wine sold at winery retail stores.

“The wine industry is an incredibly important part of our community here in Niagara and the economic impact of COVID-19 has dealt a massive blow,” said Gates. “This legislation is an important step in creating a level playing field and assisting our wineries and growers during a difficult time.”

Gates’ bill, the Supporting Economic Recovery and Renewal in the Niagara Region Act, would create a tax exemption for all on-site retail sales of VQA and 100 percent Ontario wine for all wineries in the province. Right now, foreign imported wine does not pay this same tax. Gates introduced similar legislation in 2018 to eliminate the tax.

“Frankly, we need to do a better job of support our wine industry and ensure they have a larger share of industry like we see in other provinces,” said Gates. “These businesses create jobs right here in our community and the impact of COVID-19 could see up to one in five wineries closing their doors.”

“From my discussions with winery owners and industry associations, this bill will provided much needed relief at a time when many in the industry are struggling from the ongoing impact of COVID-19,” said Gates.

“We are really lucky in Niagara to have such a wonderful wine region and opportunities for education in the field at both Niagara College and Brock University – let’s work hard to make sure it can continue to grow.”