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Report calls for Nunavut liquor corporation
Corporation would buy, sell, distribute alcohol; carry out inspections

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Friday, Nov 2, 2012

A task force created to review the territory's liquor act is recommending a Crown corporation be established to control and distribute alcohol in Nunavut.

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Nunavut Liquor Act Review Task Force
  • Chair Donna Adams, from the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council
  • Vice-chair Esau Tatatoapik, alcohol education committee
  • David Wilman, from the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board
  • Miranda Atatahak, youth representative
  • Jack Anawak, from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
  • Akulliq MLA John Ningark
  • South Baffin MLA Fred Schell
  • Dr. Geraldine Osborne, Nunavut Department of Health
  • RCMP Supt. Hilton Smee
  • Dr. Isaac Sobol, Nunavut Department of Health
  • RCMP Supt. Howard Eaton

The Nunavut Liquor Act Review Task Force is urging the creation of a Nunavut liquor corporation by merging the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board, the Nunavut Liquor Commission and the Liquor Enforcement Division. The task force made the recommendation in its report titled A New Approach: Halting the Harm, which was tabled in the legislature recently.

Cabinet would appoint a board of directors to oversee the corporation, which would license, buy, sell and distribute alcohol as well as be responsible for harm-reduction initiatives funded with revenues from sales and taxes, the report adds. The corporation would also enforce the act and inspect licensed establishments as well as financially support community alcohol education committees.

Other recommendations include cracking down on bootlegging and replacing the existing Nunavut Liquor Act with legislation more easily understood with a greater focus on harm reduction. To stop bootlegging, the report recommends opening a government-run licensed beer and wine outlet if the community supports it, restrict access to hard liquor, standardize shipping costs to all communities and abolish import permits.

Other recommended measures include limiting the amount of alcohol purchased within a yet unspecified timeframe, limiting the amount of alcohol a person can have in his possession and mandatory disclosure of those who buy large amounts of alcohol. Some proposed policies such as increasing the legal age to buy alcohol or increasing prices and taxes received no support during community consultations, according to the report. On the other hand, it states that increasing penalties against individuals and licensed establishment who sell to minors, for instance, was highly supported.

The task force was convened by Finance Minister Keith Peterson to review the Nunavut Liquor Act in April 2010. $5.9 million worth of alcoholic beverages, including spirits, wine and beer, was sold in Nunavut in 2010, according to the report.

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