BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Wine Overpayments: Liquor Distribution Branch Pays Wineries Extra $1M

10/09/2015 08:19 EDT | Updated 10/09/2016 05:12 EDT
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red wine and two glasses on the table
An internal government document shows a mistake within the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) has led to a million dollar mis-allocation of funds paid to the province's biggest commercial wineries.

According to an April 2015 ministerial briefing note, the overpayment resulted from an error in calculating commissions the government paid wineries, leading to overpayments "in the seven figure range". 

The issue was raised in Thursday's B.C Legislature question period by NDP critic David Eby who asked Coralee Oakes, the minister responsible for the LDB directly how much the error has cost taxpayers. 

Oakes replied, "We remain committed to ensuring that we have success in our wine economy and we look at ways consumers have very clearly stated that they want more choice in British Columbia."

When asked if there was a plan to recover the overpayments Oakes remained evasive. 

"The plan is to listen to citizens across British Columbia. When we did extensive consultation, citizens said they wanted more choice," she answered.

The briefing document gives an example of just how much money was lost. On a single bottle of wine costing $12.99, the miscalculation meant wineries received an extra 15-cents per bottle from the BCLDB. As the cost of the bottle rose, so did the overpayment.

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