§Market Competition in the Retail Distribution of Alcohol in Saskatchewan
Most provinces in Canada maintain post-prohibition-era monopolistic controls over the importation and distribution (including pricing) of alcohol. Saskatchewan’s alcohol control is facilitated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), a Treasury Board Crown Corporation. SLGA operates as the primary distributor and sole licensing agent for the sale of beverage alcohol in the province, either through direct operation of its liquor stores, or by rural franchisees operating on its behalf. Despite its monopolistic position in the market, SLGA has shown some interest in fostering market competition, in part by pursuing a public-private retail distribution model. Recent directives from the SaskParty suggest that SLGA will be mandated to pursue more competitive measures. However, the real extent of market competition remains constrained due both to limitations placed on the retail market by SLGA, especially by way of minimum pricing requirements, and because of its ostensible public policy mandate to deter alcohol consumption.