British Columbians pay 50% more for a six-pack of beer in private liquor stores than do counterparts in Ontario, according to a June 27 study by Ipsos Reid.
A small fraction of that disparity is because the B.C. government charges more tax than does the Ontario government.
When tax rates are standardized, British Columbians pay 48% more for a six-pack of beer in private stores than do Ontarians in their home province.
The disparity remains substantial as volume increases.
For example, British Columbians pay $46.40 for a 24-pack of beer in the province’s private stores. That’s 44% more than the $32.08 that Ontarians pay. When tax rates are standardized, the disparity falls to 42% for a 24-pack of beer.
Canada’s National Brewers (CNB) contracted Ipsos to provide baseline data on beer pricing, brand availability, store appearance and staffing levels at beer retailing outlets in B.C., Alberta and Quebec. That compared with statistics for Ontario that CNB already had.
British Columbia is the most expensive of those four provinces regardless of whether taxes are standardized to Ontario rates.
For example, when taxes are standardized, a six-pack of beer in B.C. costs $16.12 compared with $16 in Alberta, $15 in Quebec and $10.88 in Ontario.
Without standardizing for tax, that same six-pack costs $16.41 in B.C., $14.81 in Alberta, $14.08 in Quebec and $10.88 in Ontario.
The same 14 brands were surveyed in each province. Stores in B.C. were all in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope or Mission Springs.