Skip to Main Content

How much alcohol can I bring from another province?

A case of beer. Stock photo by Getty Images.

Ah, prohibition. Although the Canadian Constitution Act of 1867 guaranteed free trade between the provinces, that memo seems not to have reached the provinces themselves, as restrictions are placed on how much alcohol you can import from one to another.

In fact these restrictions date back to a federal law passed in 1928, the Intoxicating Liquors Act, which expressly forbade the import of alcohol from one province to another. The law states “no person shall import, send, take or transport, or cause to be imported, sent, taken or transported, into any province from or out of any place within or outside Canada any intoxicating liquor.”

This law was created due to prohibition-era crackdowns on alcohol consumption. These restrictions were lifted subsequently, but today a person can only import alcohol into their home province, from another province or territory, in the quantities outlined by their provinces liquor board which regulates the flow of alcohol. Should you be found to exceed the limit, you will be charged and fined under the liquor act of the province you live in.

It is important to know what amount a person is allowed to bring back to their province for consumption. Be aware that each province’s requirement is not just restricted to allowed amounts. Further restrictions imposed are;

  • You have to be of legal age or older in your home province;
  • The alcohol has to be for private consumption and not resale.

Here are the allowed amounts of alcohol broken down by province or territory:

Ontario

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 24.6 litres of beer.

Quebec

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 24.6 litres of beer.

British Columbia

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 25.6 litres of beer.

Yukon

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 24.55 litres of beer.

Prince Edward Island

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 24.6 litres of beer.

Nova Scotia

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 24 litres of beer.

Saskatchewan

  • Up to three litres of spirits;
  • Up to nine litres of wine; and
  • 24 litres of beer.

New Brunswick

  • Up to one bottle of spirits;
  • Up to one bottle of wine; and
  • 12 pints of beer.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Up to 40 ounces or 1.14 litres of spirits;
  • Up to 40 ounces or 1.14 litres of wine; and
  • Two dozen bottles or cans or nine litres of beer.

Northwest Territories

  • Up to 1.14 litres of spirits;
  • Up to 1.5 litres of wine; and
  • Up to 8.52 litres of beer.

Nunavut

  • Up to 1.14 litres of spirits;
  • Up to 1.14 litres of wine; or
  • Up to 12 x 355 ml cans of beer.

Alberta

  • No limits imposed.

Manitoba

  • No limits imposed.

Keep in mind, the law is constantly changing, and the current trend leans towards removing restrictions. There was a case before the New Brunswick court, which challenged the interprovincial alcohol import limits for the province, and could lead to the removal of trade limits for alcohol across provinces. Cheers!

Update: On April 29, 2016, a New Brunswick provincial court decision ruled that the liquor limits imposed by the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act violate the Constitution's free-trade provision and are therefore not valid in the province.

Read more:

Constitution Act 1867

Table for Interprovincial import