Auction laws punish charities

For non-profit groups and charities that survived grant cutbacks, the provincial government has found a new way to add insult to injury.

For non-profit groups and charities that survived grant cutbacks of recent years, the provincial government has found a new way to add insult to injury.

Auctioning bottles of alcohol donated as gifts for  fundraising events is a big no-no – unless the government is guaranteed to get its cut.

The Belfry Theatre found this out three years after the fact, an oversight that will cost them at least $20,000 in fundraising this year.

The Belfry, a registered charity, was preparing for its third Crush event for this Sunday, where it auctions off privately donated rare wines from around the world.

This wasn’t a secret – the theatre company openly solicited for donations of fine wines and listed wines up for auction on its Crush website from 2010, including the names of donors.

For some reason, this year things were different. The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch denied the Belfry a special occasion licence to serve alcohol when it found out the theatre company planned, once again, to auction privately donated wines.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines, which oversees the LCBC, said it had been unaware until now that the Belfry auctioned privately donated wine. Apparently it was also unaware of the dozens of other B.C. charities that do the same thing year after year.

“This law has been in place for many years,” the Ministry of Energy and Mines told the News in an email.

It is odd the LCLB Special Occasion Licencing manual highlights those specific sections regarding charity wine auctions, indicating they were revised in June 2012. The province dismisses this as “housekeeping” – it insists the rules haven’t changed.

Either the rules haven’t changed and they weren’t being enforced until now, or the rules have changed without warning and the province won’t admit it.

Either way, the regulations are mean spirited and self-serving. Under the rules, the booze needs to be purchased directly from a government liquor store or donated from a liquor manufacturer.

B.C. is known for its antiquated and arbitrary liquor laws. The B.C. Liberals have brought some of B.C.’  liquor laws into the modern day. People can now bring their own wine to restaurants. Movie theatres can apply for liquor licences for adult-only screenings.

But these auction regulations are a step backwards and only serve to punish legitimate charities.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Victoria police are investigating after a person broke into and stole a vehicle from a Douglas Street car dealership on the morning of March 3. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Suspect sought after vehicle swiped from Victoria dealership

Suspect broke into Douglas Street dealership shortly before 5 a.m.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read