Consumer demand for non-alcoholic beer is surging in Canada, but Canada oddly maintains it’s “sin tax” on non-alcoholic beer at a rate of $2.82/hectolitre.
The Consumer Choice Center’s Toronto based North American Affairs Manager David Clement called on the Federal Government to remove the excise tax stating “The first problem with the excise tax for non-alcoholic beer is that non-alcoholic wine and spirits are exempt from the tax. For some reason, the federal government doesn’t treat all non-alcoholic beverages equally. Removing the excise tax for non-alcoholic beer would simply apply the government’s own logic consistently.”
“Removing the tax on non-alcoholic beer would help reduce costs for health-conscious consumers, giving them better access to reduced-risk products. It would also very likely help expand the domestic production of these beverages, given that Canada is unique in its excise treatment of non-alcoholic beer,” said Clement.
“Exempting non-alcoholic beer from the federal excise tax would be consistent with the principles of harm reduction, a policy approach the Trudeau government has championed. When regulating and taxing products that could present some risk to consumers, it is important that legislators evaluate what that risk actually is. For non-alcoholic beer it is near zero, which is why it is not appropriate for the government to treat it the same as beer. The main justification for taxes on beverage alcohol is to help cover any alcohol-related health-care costs that might arise. But what is the alcohol-related health-care burden of non-alcoholic beer? There isn’t any, which is why it should be exempt,” said Clement.