Alberta Beer Mark-Up Ruled Unconstitutional


A team of MLT Aikins lawyers, led by Doug Hodson and Kristen MacDonald, was recently successful in a constitutional challenge brought on behalf of Great Western Brewing Company Ltd. before the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

The case concerns the constitutionality of a markup imposed on beer by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. The markup rate is higher for beer manufactured by small brewers outside of Alberta than for those within Alberta. Justice Marriott held that the markup creates a barrier to inter-provincial trade and is therefore contrary to section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Alberta has six months to change the law. The Court also ordered Alberta to repay millions of dollars in markup revenue unlawfully collected under the law.

Click here to download a copy of the judgement.

This is the first time that a law has been successfully challenged on the grounds that it violates section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Doug Hodson

Doug Hodson, Q.C., is a partner with a focus on commercial litigation, particularly class actions, transportation law and constitutional litigation. Doug has argues important cases before all levels of court in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario and before the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Learn more about Doug.

Kristen MacDonald

Kristen MacDonald is an associate lawyer, focusing on complex commercial and appellate litigation. Kristen has appeared before all levels of Court in Saskatchewan and has also represented clients in appeals before the Alberta Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Learn more about Kristen.