Home Cases CCF and Artisan Ales AIT complaint against Alberta (Interprovincial free trade)

CCF and Artisan Ales AIT complaint against Alberta (Interprovincial free trade)

By | on Aug 29 2016

From Cases, Ongoing Cases

With the help from the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Artisan Ales, a small Calgary owned-and-operated import agency, has initiated a complaint against the Government of Alberta under the Agreement on Internal Trade (the AIT). The complaint alleged that Alberta, through a tax policy that favours Alberta beers over the beers of other provinces, is failing to honour its free trade obligations under the AIT.

Artisan Ales succeeded in convincing a Panel of trade experts assembled under the AIT to resolve disputes that Alberta’s beer policies were violating the AIT, and the Panel’s July 28, 2017 decision gave the government six months to bring itself into compliance with the trade agreement.

Within days of receiving the Panel’s decision, the Government of Alberta appealed and a new AIT Panel with appellate jurisdiction was assembled to hear the appeal in Montreal on January 25, 2018.

This protectionist tax violated section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867, the Constitution’s so-called “free trade” clause and long established case law from the Supreme Court of Canada that no province can erect tariff barriers to interprovincial trade. On August 15, 2016, a preliminary, independent review authorized the complaint to proceed to a hearing, finding that “there is a reasonable case of injury or denial of benefit to Artisan Ales.” If successful, Alberta’s policy will be found to violate the province’s commitments under the AIT. This is part of our broader work to keep Canadian governments accountable to their internal trade agreements and our Constitution.

  • CCF Launch: August 2016
  • Legal Jurisdiction: Alberta
  • Next Key Date: We expect a decision from the Appellate Panel by April 25, 2018.

Read the case announcement release here.
Read our original factum here.
Read our appellate factum here.
Read about the AIT panel hearing on June 1, 2017, here.

(Image by Paul Joseph under CC 2.0).

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