Miss Avery Law Office – 2013 Summerland Blossom Pageant

Posted on: March 13, 2013

All of us at Avery Law Office are very proud of Miss Avery Law Office 2013, Nathalia Melgar Dorado, who represented our office with poise and confidence during the 2013 Summerland Blossom Pageant Judges’ Tea in February.  Well done Nathalia!

2013 Summerland Business and Community Awards Professional Services Award Finalist

Posted on: March 13, 2013

Professional Services Excellence Award 2012 | Avery Law OfficeTHANK YOU to all those who nominated and voted for Avery Law Office for the Professional Services Award at the 2013 Summerland Business and Community Awards.  We are very grateful for your support and were very proud to be one of two finalists.  Congratulations to DogLeg Marketing who received the award.

The Economic Impact of the Canadian Wine Industry

Posted on: March 13, 2013

I spent some time on the BCWineChat website considering tonight’s topic regarding the Economic Impact of the Canadian Wine Industry.  I understand the catalyst for this topic was the recently published Economic Impact Study on the Canadian wine industry completed by Frank, Rimerman and Co. LLP, a US-based certified public accounting firm which provides various services including wine industry research and consulting.  As a non-accountant with minimal knowledge of the methodology of the economic analysis of an industry, to me, the study confirms what I believe most people feel is the case, the wine industry undoubtedly has a serious impact on our provincial and national economy.  With a full national economic impact of $6.8 billion in terms of revenue, taxes and wages, of which $3.69 billion can be attributed to 100% Canadian wine, I think everyone in the industry should take a much deserved bow/curtsey and be congratulated on a job very well done.  The Canadian wine industry and more specifically, the BC wine industry, has come a long way since the time of Prohibition when alcoholic beverages were banned altogether. The industry has developed into an important economically significant commercial enterprise.  The industry adds value to our collective wealth and resources, promotes tourism, creates jobs and generates revenues.

Often economic impact studies are completed at the time legislative changes are proposed or requested at the behest of a person lobbying for change.  This study was commissioned by the Canadian Vintners Association, Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, BC Wine Institute and Winery Association of Nova Scotia.  Given the study results, it would be nice to see the promotion and growth of the industry further supported by federal government legislative changes which enforce the principles of economic unity among the provinces and territories as it relates to intoxicating beverages and support of interprovincial commerce and the shipment of wine between provinces beyond the personal consumption exemption. Additional support from the provinces would also be a welcome outcome, as various provincial governments enact legislative changes which modernize our liquor laws and fully recognize how the industry has and continues to change and develop from the days of Prohibition.  Much like the “living tree doctrine” I learned in a law school class some time ago, like our Constitution, the wine industry should be treated as organic and must be handled in a broad and progressive manner, adapting to the changing times.

I for one am pleased to see quantifiable and tangible economic impact for our wine industry and hope the corresponding outcomes are reflective of the results. To join the discussion and to share your thoughts on the study, head to Twitter tonight, Wednesday March 13th, from 8-9pm and search #BCWineChat.

Is it breaking the law to help a good cause?

Posted on: October 28, 2012

There is nothing like the controversy and confusion surrounding the forced cancellation of the Belfry Theatre’s annual Crush fundraising event to really hammer home how difficult to understand B.C.’s liquor licensing and distribution laws really are.  I believe that there are several people out there who have handled or distributed liquor (whether in their personal or professional capacity) and honestly thought they were doing everything right, only to find out the government disagreed.  As a result, stores may close, restaurants may go out of business or charities may lose fundraising opportunities essential for supporting their operations and charitable goals.
At the root of the unfortunate circumstances affecting Belfry Theatre and other situations with similar outcomes is the question, “what do the liquor laws really say?”  Another very good question which applies in many cases is “why was I allowed to do it before?”  In June 2012, amendments were made to LCLB policy regarding special occasion liquor licences (SOL).  Specifically, the policy permits the holder of a SOL to auction liquor at a licensed special occasion to raise money for a charity, but requires that liquor be purchased by the SOL holder or donated by a manufacturer or agent (special rules apply here). So, as in the case of Belfry Theatre, donations of liquor by private individuals falls outside of the four corners of this policy.  Without getting into the fact that policy does not equate to law, the BC government issued a press release on October 26th (titled Liquor law clarified to help non-profit organizations) stating a “common sense” approach would be taken regarding its interpretation of its own policy and permit non-profit organizations to auction gift baskets or similar items with commercially produced liquor as one component of the basket.  However, a similar “common sense” approach will not be applied for those non-profit organizations wanting to leave the gift baskets behind and auction wine alone.  Legally speaking, what is it about a “gift basket” that all of the sudden makes it okay for charitable organizations to auction liquor?  The statement makes it very obvious how easily policy can be changed…I am pretty sure that the liquor laws that govern all of us (government and individuals alike) do not mention “gift basket” or define exactly what will make up an acceptable gift basket for auctions.  Clear as mud?