As the leaves change colors and the air gets crisper, it’s that time of the year when students head back to school. But in the world of advocacy and politics, “Back to School” doesn’t just apply to students—it’s also a call to educate our elected officials and policymakers on crucial matters for Canada’s craft brewing industry. 

First, the most pressing issue is getting CEBA loan relief. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) was a lifeline for many businesses, offering financial support when it was needed most. The pandemic posed unique challenges for craft breweries. Reduced sales due to lockdowns and closures of bars and restaurants hit our industry hard. We need more time to recover.

In partnership with the CFIB, we are calling on policymakers to provide CEBA loan relief for craft breweries. We’re asking for the repayment deadline to be extended to the end of 2025, or at least a year, while still maintaining the forgivable portion. It’s about preserving jobs and ensuring the survival of local craft breweries.

Second, modernizing the excise tax structure is a breweries’ battle for fairness. The craft brewing industry in Canada has been brewing up success stories across the country. It’s more than just a trend; it’s a vital contributor to our economy, offering job opportunities, boosting local tourism, supporting local agriculture, and showcasing Canadian creativity in a glass. But, increased operating costs and high tax rates are making it more and more difficult to run a brewery profitably. 

Currently, the excise tax structure doesn’t go far enough to account for the vast differences in production and distribution between small craft breweries and multinational corporations. This creates an uneven playing field. We are finalizing an updated economic impact report with MNP which will propose a modernized excise tax system with tiered rates for lower annual production levels. 

These changes would enable craft breweries to invest in growth, thereby generating additional tax revenue over time. Excise tax modernization benefits everyone, from craft breweries to the Canadian economy at large. It’s about creating a fair and balanced industry that allows small businesses to thrive.

Finally, responsible labeling is about promoting informed choices. In a world where consumers seek transparency, responsible health labeling on craft beer and fact-based low risk drinking guidelines empowers consumers to make informed choices about their alcohol consumption, promoting responsible drinking.

That’s why we continue to challenge the flawed CCSA report recommending Canadians consumer no more than two alcoholic drinks per week and plan to appear before Senate to challenge Bill S-254 seeking to have warning labels added to beer packaging.

Promoting responsible drinking isn’t just a social responsibility—it’s about enhancing consumer safety and reducing alcohol-related harm in our communities. 

A collective call to action. Canada’s craft brewing industry has proven its resilience and importance to our economy, culture, and local communities. As we head “Back to School” in the realm of advocacy, let’s join hands to educate our elected officials on these vital issues. 

Together, we can create a brighter future for craft brewing, fostering fairness, responsibility, and sustainability. It’s time for our policymakers to raise a glass to craft brewing and say cheers to progress.


Christine Comeau

Executive Director, CCBA-AMBC