About liquor in Nunavut
The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NULC, the Commission) is responsible for purchasing, selling, classifying and distributing alcoholic beverages in Nunavut. The NULC sells through three sales channels: wholesale for licensed establishments, remote sales shipped to individuals, and low-alcohol content beverages through a walk-in retail store. Individuals may also purchase a liquor import permit if they wish to purchase alcohol from another jurisdiction.
Each of Nunavut’s 25 communities can choose whether to allow, restrict or prohibit liquor in their municipality. Community members make this choice by voting in plebiscites. The three liquor systems currently used in Nunavut are prohibited, restricted or unrestricted.
The NULC sold about $16 million in alcohol products in the year ending March 31, 2019.
The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Board (NLCB) is responsible for issuing liquor licensees for establishments and for issuing Special Occasion Permits. The Board manages the Government’s relationship with the licensees, including issuing fines and penalties.
The Department of Finance is responsible for enforcement under the Liquor Act and makes overarching laws and regulations which govern the operations of the NULC, the NLCB, Alcohol Education Committees, and alcohol in the territory more generally.
How do I introduce new products into Nunavut?
The NULC decides what products to list based on previous sales performance, national trends, and requests made by the public and licensees. If you are interested in listing products in Nunavut, contact [email protected].
Labelling and packaging requirements
What are the labelling and packaging requirements in Nunavut?
All liquor products sold in Nunavut must meet Canadian labelling requirements for alcoholic beverages and be in safe containers and packaging. Nunavut does not impose any additional requirements above the national standards.
Laboratory testing requirements
What are the laboratory testing requirements in Nunavut?
Nunavut purchases most products from other provincial liquor boards and relies on their testing. For products which are not tested in other jurisdictions, the NULC requires that products must be tested in an accredited lab before they can be sold.
What components make up the price of liquor in Nunavut?
Several components make up the price of liquor sold in Nunavut.
- The NULC purchases from a wholesaler. The wholesale cost is added to the cost of shipping to Nunavut to make the landed cost.
- On top of the landed cost, the NULC applies mark-ups, bottle deposits, and a licensing fee (for licensees only). The mark-up structure is listed below:
|Mark-up and Fee Structure ($ / L)
|Small brewer (under 1,500 hL)
|Draught (containers above 18 L in capacity)
|Draught (containers below 18 L in Capacity)
|*NULC only applies the warehouse cost-of-service fee (WH) on products that make significant use of our warehouse facilities.
Sales channels and distribution
How does the sale and distribution of liquor products work in Nunavut?
The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NULC) is responsible for distributing liquor in the territory. They do this through three distinct channels:
- Remote sales: Orders are processed in one of the NULC’s two distribution centers and shipped to individuals and licensees.
- Walk-in retail outlet: The NULC retails low-alcohol beverages (beer, wine, coolers, cider) through a store in Iqaluit.
- Wholesale: the NULC supplies liquor to licensed establishments.
Individuals and licensed establishments may also purchase a liquor import permit if they wish to import liquor from another province or territory.
Marketing and promotion policies
What are the rules for the marketing and promotion of liquor products in Nunavut?
The marketing and promotion of liquor products is prohibited in Nunavut unless specifically approved by the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Board.
You can refer to Liquor Act Regulations PART XII “Advertising” section 117.
“There shall be no advertisement of liquor by any means of a sign or in a newspaper, magazine, radio, television or other means of public communication except advertising specifically approved by the Board”.
Do I need a liquor licence to sell alcohol in Nunavut?
Yes, the Liquor Act provides authority for the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Board to issue 11 different classes of liquor licences:
- Aircraft licence or ship licence for the sale of liquor to and consumption of liquor by passengers while in transit.
- Brew pub licence to a holder of a brewery permit for the sale and consumption at a brew pub of beer manufactured under the authority of the brewery permit.
- Canteen licence for the sale and consumption of liquor in military and quasi-military messes and in the canteen facilities of fire halls.
- Club licence for the sale of liquor by the licence holder for consumption by members and guests.
- Cocktail lounge licence for the sale and consumption of liquor.
- Cultural and sports facility licence for the sale and consumption of liquor in theatres and sports arenas.
- Dining room licence for the sale and consumption of liquor in a public dining room.
- Guest room licence for the sale of liquor by the licence holder for consumption by a bona fide registered guest of a tourist establishment.
- Off-premises licence for the sale of beer in licensed premises to persons for consumption off the premises.
- Private recreational facility licence for the sale of liquor by the licence holder for consumption by members and guests.
- Special licence for the sale and consumption of liquor or beer only to a commercial corporation operating in an isolated area.
Each of these licences is subject to the general and specific rules contained in the Liquor Act, the Liquor Regulations, and in any of the specific regulations applicable to individual communities. A liquor licence cannot be issued in a prohibited community. A liquor licence issued in a restricted community is subject to the restrictions in place in that community.
There are also two classes of Special Occasion Permits (SOP) that can be obtained:
Ordinary: authorizes the consumption of liquor at the place set out in the permit during the hours indicated on the permit and subject to the conditions set out in the permit and these regulations.
Resale: authorizes the sale and consumption of liquor at the place set out in the permit, during the licensed hours indicated on the permit and subject to these regulations and the conditions set out in the permit.
Liquor Act 15(4)
Subject to this Act and the regulations, the Board or a person designated by the Minister may issue to any person or organization a special occasion permit for the sale and consumption of liquor at social functions on receipt of an application for a special occasion permit accompanied by the prescribed fee. The procedure for issuing, condition of operations and prohibitions are in the Liquor Regulations PART VIII.
How do I obtain a liquor licence?
Liquor Licenses are issued by the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Board. The Liquor Regulations lay out the specific provisions for applying for each of the various types of liquor licences.
For all the appropriate steps, visit: https://www.gov.nu.ca/finance/information/liquor-licences-0.
Relevant legislation, regulations and policies
What rules apply to me?
The Nunavut Liquor Act regulates all activities relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol. With the help of:
- Liquor Regulations
- Liquor Store Regulations
- Inspector Regulations
- Brewery Regulations
- Conditions and Requirements for Operating a Beer Garden
These documents can be found at: https://www.gov.nu.ca/finance/information/governing-documents.
Whom can I contact for more information?
For information about the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission: [email protected].
For information about the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Board: [email protected].