Organizations

The organizations listed are key to any player to the British Columbia wine industry. They range from government organizations that might be mandatory or voluntary in nature to industry organizations that are more membership-based. The Guide is meant to highlight the right place to go for information, but since it is only updated annually, contact the individual organizations directly for answers to your specific questions.
Organization Category
Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
AgSafe
Who or what does the organization report to?

AgSafe is governed by a Board of Directors and reports its work plan and budget through WorksafeBC.

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Voluntary/Non-Regulatory

AgSafe is the non-profit health and safety association for BC’s agricultural producers. AgSafe is also a COR Certifying Partner and offers a safety Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small agricultural employers. AgSafe’s services are available at no additional charge to the premiums your business has already paid to WorkSafeBC.

Summary:

Mission Statement

AgSafe strives to create a safe and healthy work environment in BC agriculture through outreach and an active program of education, training, and consultation in all regions of the province.

Vision

Agriculture in BC free from workplace injury, illness, and death.

Values

Leadership in health and safety to support the success and sustainability of agriculture by:

  • Demonstrating our passion for both health and safety and agriculture.

  • Fostering productive relationships and working together.

  • Providing expertise in agriculture health and safety.

  • Acting with integrity in all we say and do.

  • Embracing and including the diversity of our communities.

  • Effectively delivering resources and services in innovative and creative ways.  

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

No regulations but can give health and safety guidance to vineyards registered through WorksafeBC.

British Columbia Grapegrowers’ Association (BCGGA)
Who or what does the organization report to?

Elected Board of Directors

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Summary:

The British Columbia Grapegrowers’ Association is a non-profit organization that represents all commercial wine grape producers in BC on agricultural issues and concerns.   We work with other industry organizations, with provincial and federal agricultural organizations an all levels of government to represent, promote, and advance the interests of all wine grape growers in the province.

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:
  • Represent, promote, and advance the interest of grape growers in British Columbia.
  • Promote agreement among grape growers in representations to government at all levels and to wineries and other wine and grape growing related industries.
  • Cooperate with other horticultural or agricultural organizations of primary producers with similar objectives, as the directors or members may consider advisable.
  • Cooperate with governments at all levels and with wineries and other wine and grape growing related industries to improve the economic welfare of the grape growing industry in British Columbia and the quality of grapes and wine in British Columbia.
  • Work toward stable and profitable markets for British Columbia grapes and wine.
  • Disseminate information to grape growers on grape varieties, viticultural practices, harvesting methods, prices and marketing of grapes
  • Enhance the knowledge of grape growers and the consumers of grapes and wine through educational programs and materials.
Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:

None; Voluntary annual acreage reporting

Benefits/Costs of joining

$150 annual membership

The BCGA manages the Okanagan Similkameen Starling Control Program.  In the valley, we are in a very fortunate situation that we can have a significant impact on reducing the Starling populations.  Since 2007, grape growers have benefitted financially from the reduction of fruit loss.  

Website Resources 

Practical Viticulture workshops 

British Columbia Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (BCLCRB)
Who or what does the organization report to?

The Government of British Columbia

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory

If you have a winery license

Summary:

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has been renamed to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) to represent its new additional responsibility of licensing and monitoring the private retail sale of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) regulates British Columbia's liquor industries and private retail non-medical cannabis industries. This includes:

  • Restaurants, bars and pubs serving liquor
  • Liquor manufacturers
  • Liquor retail stores
  • Special events involving liquor
  • Private cannabis retail stores

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch encourages voluntary compliance of all licensees. The LCRB supervises over 10,000 licensed establishments and over 25,000 licensed events per year in the province of BC

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:
  • Restaurants, bars and pubs serving liquor
  • Liquor manufacturers
  • Liquor retail stores
  • Special events involving liquor
  • Private cannabis retail stores
Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:

Annual renewal of winery license

The Manufacturers Terms and Conditions Handbook has all licensing information for wineries 

British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB)
Who or what does the organization report to?

The government of British Columbia

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory, Voluntary/Non-Regulatory

The LDB's mandatory function is to generate revenue for the province of BC, ensure accountability of key business partners and deter the sale of alcohol to minors. As the sole wholesaler of liquor in the province, wineries and other manufacturers may only sell and distribute their products if they are authorized to do so by the LDB. 

The LDB operates BC Liquor Stores (BCLS), which compete in a mixed public-private retail model. BCLS selects products to be listed/stocked in stores based on several criteria, to ensure fairness and consistency. BCLS is a strong supporter and advocate for the BC wine industry. 

Summary:

The Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is one of two branches of the Provincial government responsible for the wholesale distribution and retail sale of beverage alcohol and non-medical cannabis. While it is not a crown corporation, the LDB is required to comply within the requirements of a Crown agency in relation to its financial reporting, service plan and mandate letter.

To fulfill its responsibilities to the Government and the people of BC, the LDB:

  • generates revenue for the Government of BC;
  • ensures accountability of key business partners; and
  • develops and implements programs and services aimed at deterring the sale of non-medical cannabis and beverage alcohol to minors and those who appear intoxicated.

The LDB is proud to contribute more than $1 billion annually to the Province of B.C., helping to provide financial support for vital public services such as health care and education.

About the LDB  

Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:

Required registration and reporting

Before a winery or any other manufacturer sells their product, it must be registered and its price confirmed with the LDB.  Product registration and price changes can be done through the Vendor Facing Website. Access is provided after you receive the Final Approval Package from LDB’s Regulatory Department.

The Wholesale Supply Chain Department approves/denies product registrations, and manages product and supplier information, stock and inventory allocation. A list of Wholesale Contacts is provided in the Resources tab on the Vendor Facing Website. 

The Wholesale Pricing Department is responsible for establishing and maintaining wholesale prices and special customer prices for new and active registered beverage alcohol products in the province. Wholesale Pricing Information for potential vendors is available upon request. For further information, please contact wholesalepricing@bcldb.com

All liquor manufacturers in BC – including wineries -- must report direct sales to all specified customers in BC to the LDB, online, via the Direct Sales Web-Reporting (DSWR) application.

The LDB’s Wholesale Private Distribution Reporting Department is responsible for collecting sales data information from manufacturers and monitoring reporting compliance. The department also supports manufacturers with necessary training and responds to their reporting-related inquiries.

For question related to sales reporting, contact wpdr@bcldb.com

Benefits/Costs of joining

The LDB is the sole liquor wholesaler in the province, purchasing and then distributing product to retailers and hospitality customers.  All products are subject to a wholesale mark-up, which is legislated by the Provincial government.

The LDB’s wholesale mark-up on wine is 89%; once calculated it is added to the supplier price, container recycling fee, and Goods and Services Tax to arrive at the LDB Wholesale Price. 

Getting started

Any business that intends to produce liquor in the province must be licensed by the Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). 

The LDB is the sole wholesaler in the province, and manufacturers may only sell and distribute their products if they are authorized to do so by the LDB.  All authorized manufacturers – including wineries - must have a signed sales agreement with the LDB, which will consider applications only after the manufacturer has applied for a Manufacturer Licence with the LCRB. 

Once the information is collected and verified, the LDB signs a sales agreement with a successful applicant. The sales agreement regulates how the manufacturer may sell and distribute its products, and provides requirements relating to reporting sales, making payments and maintaining records.

The LDB uses an established set of criteria to determine the manufacturing type and input in order to establish the classification of an applicant. An on-site inspection is required to confirm compliance with the agreement terms. 

There are two sales agreements under which wineries may operate:  

Land-based: wineries that meet the qualifying land-based winery policy criteria. The criteria include the following:

  • Must use 100% BC inputs 
  • Must own or lease at least 2 acres of vineyards or orchards at the licensed winery site, 
  • minimum of 25% of the product must come from land owned or leased by the producer
  • Must produce the product at the agricultural site
  • Must use traditional wine making techniques
  • May use wine from other land-based wineries but not from a commercial winery

Owners may not share common ownership or management with a Commercial winery.

Commercial: any winery that does not meet any one of the eligibility criteria for land-based winery designation.  Inputs may be sourced from BC or elsewhere, including the wine itself (i.e. can import bulk).

Land-based wineries enjoy some benefits that Commercial wineries do not, please review the sales agreements for each type of manufacturer for more information.

Other

Export of products 

LDB does not regulate the export of products in other provinces or countries. If you are interested in selling your product to markets outside of British Columbia, please contact the destination country or province to which you hope to export your product.

Records proving the products have physically left the province must be provided to the LDB in order for the sale of your exported product to be exempt from provincial mark-up. All export records must be kept on file and recorded on your Annual Product Movement Report. If you have further questions, please contact LDB’s Regulatory and Compliance team with the Finance Department by sending an e-mail to regemail@bcldb.com.

The Federal, provincial, and territorial governments have developed a new website – www.alcohollaws.ca – to give businesses involved in Canada’s alcoholic beverage industry a comprehensive source of information on rules and regulations across the country related to the liquor industry.

The website makes it easier for alcohol manufacturers, agents, and other related businesses seeking to expand their operations into other provinces or territories. It’s one of many actions governments have committed to in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Action Plan to enhance trade in alcoholic beverages in Canada.

British Columbia Ministry of Environment (BCMOE)
Who or what does the organization report to?

British Columbia Provincial Government

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory
Summary:

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is responsible for the effective protection, management, and conservation of British Columbia's water, land, air, and living resources in accordance with the Environmental Management Act.

The Environmental Management Act governs the management of waste in British Columbia. The act provides the authority for introducing wastes into the environment, while protecting our health and the environment. Specifically, the act enables the use of permits, regulations and codes of practice to authorize discharges to the environment and enforcement options, such as administrative penalties, orders and fines to encourage compliance

The Integrated Pest Management Act sets out the requirements for the use and sale of pesticides in British Columbia. Requirements are set through a pesticide classification system and regulatory provisions and standards for licenses, certification, permits, and confirmations of pesticide use notices under Pest Management Plans.

Both the Environmental Management Act and the Integrated Pest Management Act include enforcement options, such as administrative penalties, orders and fines to encourage compliance.

 

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

The Environmental Management Act - How the Ministry Regulates

All operations/ facilities must be conscious of the overriding Environmental Management Act requirement 6(4) that states “a person must not introduce waste into the environment in such a manner or quantity as to cause pollution”.

In accordance with the Waste Discharge Regulation (WDR) Schedule 2 “Beverage Industry”,  operations engaged in producing or manufacturing greater than 16,000,000 L per year of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages (other than water) will require a site specific permit to authorize the discharge of waste (effluent, air and/or refuse) from operations to the environment.

Regardless of if a facility requires a site specific permit, all operations/ facilities must be conscious of the overriding Environmental Management Act requirement 6(4) that states “a person must not introduce waste into the environment in such a manner or quantity as to cause pollution”.

The province does not recommend the burning of waste, but instead that organic matter be composted in accordance with the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR) or transported to a facility authorized to receive and compost the material. Effluent (if under the WDR threshold listed above) must be discharge in a manner that does not cause pollution. Information on composting and facility requirements can be accessed here: Food and Organic Waste Regulations.

  • The Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation governs the burning of vegetative material associated with a range of activities including agriculture and sets out conditions under which burning of vegetative debris is authorized. The regulation does not generally prohibit burning, but rather aims to ensure that burning is conducted with minimal risk to air quality. It is highly recommended alternatives to burning be prioritized. Information on the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation and the ventilation index can be accessed here: Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation
  • Please note, local governments and communities may add stricter requirements to larger-scale open burning.
  • It is recommended operators reach out to the Agricultural Land Commission for additional information on the applicability of the Right to Farm Act and potential requirements. 

Depending on an operation’s specific situation and proposed activity, requirements under the Ministry’s Agricultural Environmental Management Code of Practice may be applicable (i.e. uses of wood residue, land application of nutrient sources, composting of agricultural by-products, etc.). The Code of Practice can be accessed here: Code of Practice 

 

The Integrated Pest Management Act - How the Ministry Regulates

The Integrated Pest Management Act and Regulation establish classes of pesticides and requirements for licenses, certificates, permits and confirmations for each class. The classification system utilizes definitions and labeling for sale and use of pesticides set out in the federal Pest Control Products Act. Pesticide classes under the Integrated Pest Management Act are:

  • Permit-restricted: these pesticides are listed by name in the regulation. They are the most strictly controlled, requiring a permit for purchase or application;
  • Restricted: these pesticides have the Restricted product class specified on their label. A pesticide applicator certificate is required for their purchase or use;
  • Commercial: these pesticides have the Commercial product class specified on their label;
  • Domestic: these pesticides have the Domestic product class specified on their label. They are intended for use by non-professionals in or around private homes and gardens; and
  • Excluded: these pesticides are listed by name or type of use in the regulation. Their use or sale does not require a license, certificate, permit or confirmation.

Any person storing, transporting or using a pesticide must do so in a manner that minimizes hazards to human health and the environment following the standards set out in the Regulation. Pesticides, other than excluded and domestic class pesticides, must be stored separately from food, in a properly ventilated facility and with appropriate signage and restrictions to access. Pesticides being transported must be secured in a manner that prevents escape or discharge.

More information on pesticide use in B.C. including certification, licensing and production guides can be accessed here: Pesticide Use  

British Columbia Regional Health Authorities
Who or what does the organization report to?

British Columbia Provincial Health Services Authority

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory
Summary:

The Ministry of Health works together with a provincial health authority, five regional health authorities, and a First Nations health authority to provide high quality, appropriate and timely health services to British Columbians.

Provincial Health Services Authority

The Provincial Health Services Authority is responsible for:

  • working with the five regional health authorities to plan and co-ordinate the delivery of provincial programs and specialized services; and
  • governing and managing the organizations that provide specialized health services throughout the province.

Regional Health Authorities

The five regional health authorities govern, plan, and deliver health-care services within their geographic areas.

The regional health authorities are responsible for:

  • identifying population health needs
  • planning appropriate programs and services
  • ensuring programs and services are properly funded and managed
  • meeting performance objectives
British Columbia Wine Authority (BCWA)
Who or what does the organization report to?

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory, Voluntary/Non-Regulatory

The British Columiba Wine Authority is a voluntary organization, but regulatory in nature if you are a member.

Summary:

The British Columbia Wine Authority, or BCWA, is the independent designated regulatory body in the Province of British Columbia that has the responsibility of managing and enforcing the system of wine standards established under the Province’s “Wine of Marked Quality Regulation (the Regulation)”. The BCWA oversees the BC Vintners Quality Alliance program (BCVQA), ensuring that the wines produced across BC are of marked quality, meet the labeling regulations, and use the correct geographical indicators for wines made from grapes in the different regions of our province.  Membership in the BCWA is voluntary.

The BCVQA program is an appellation of origin system, (Geographic Indication or GI in British Columbia) similar to the AOC and DOC systems utilized in France and Italy respectively, and it guarantees origin and ensures that qualifying wines meet certain minimum quality requirements.

Key Points:

  • The BCWA conducts the BCVQA sensory panels, to ensure the wine is fault free, and certifies the wines as BCVQA.
  • A wine needs to be certified BCVQA to use the appropriate Geographic Indication's (GI's) on the label independent of the sales channel (i.e. BCVQA stores). A winery needs to certify its wine to use the GI, even if selling only through their own wine shop.
  • The BCWA has a separate function than the BCWI (BC Wine Institute) who operates the BCVQA stores and therefore is separate from the fees charged by the BCWI to market their wine.
  • The wine industry as a whole suggests amendments to the Regulations, through the WIAC committee.  Any amendments are put forward in a plebiscite and voted on by all BCWA members.  The vote has to pass a double majority, meaning 2/3 of the members and at least 50% of winery production must vote in favour.
What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:
  • Certify wines as “BCVQA” or “Wines of Distinction”.
  • BCWA conducts sensory panels to certify wines as BCVQA.
  • Regulates the use of Geographic Indicators (GI’s) and Sub GI’s (i.e. Okanagan Valley and Golden Mile Bench).
  • Registers, at no cost, all growers in the province to prove origin (this includes wineries with vineyards).
  • Review labels, lab results and production methods to ensure compliance with “Wines of Marked Quality Regulations”.
  • Certifies analytical laboratories for tests required for wines to become BCVQA.
  • Conducts inspections of BCVQA wine to ensure 100% BC grapes and production methods are in compliance with the Regulations.
  • Regulates Icewine and Late Harvest registration and production standards as per the Regulations.
Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:

Reporting includes Winery Registration and annual crop registration, grower registration, BCVQA sensory panel submission, Late harvest, and Icewine registration and laboratory certification:

Required Forms 

 

Benefits/Costs of joining

Benefits of Joining

Promotes "Truth in Labeling" by ensuring production and labeling conventions set out in the Regulations are followed throughout the BC Wine Industry.

Licensed wineries in British Columbia are welcome to become members of the British Columbia Wine Authority.  Members receive voting privileges for plebiscites to amend the Regulations. 

Membership includes the right to use the following regulated terms:

  • Geographical indicators smaller than Product of Canada (i.e. British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Golden Mile Bench, Naramata Bench etc.)
  • Late Harvest
  • Icewine
  • Meritage

The BCWA is the recognized Regulatory body for International Sales (EU). 

Costs of Joining

Members pay a flat “all-inclusive” fee, covering the cost of membership, grape levies, audits, and wine certification.

Two flat fee options include:

  • $300 – up to 20 tonnes, includes levy and 5 wine submissions for BCVQA
  • $650 – up to 40 tonnes, includes levy and 8 wine submissions for BCVQA

Over 40 tonnes – the grape levy is $10 per standard ton, $65 for inspection fee and $100 per wine submission for BCVQA sensory panel.

As soon as a winery receives its license it can register to join the BCWA

British Columbia Wine Grape Council (BCWGC)
Who or what does the organization report to?

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory

Mandatory/Regulatory for mainland vineyards who are selling grapes to any licensed BC winery (more information on levies).

Summary:

The purpose of the BC Wine Grape Council is to coordinate, facilitate, and fund research and education on viticulture and enology to broadly benefit the British Columbia wine grape industry and to represent growers on a variety of agriculture-related issues.

The mission of the BC Wine Grape Council is to promote the development of a strong and viable wine grape industry that will result in the production of world-class wines and that will enhance the economic and environmental benefits to British Columbia.

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

No regulation but charged with wine and grape research, development, education, health and safety and sustainability.

Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:

All grape tonnage acquired from a BC mainland vineyard used in the production of wine on an annual basis post-harvest.

Benefits/Costs of joining

The purpose of the BC Wine Grape Council is to coordinate, facilitate, and fund research and education on viticulture and enology to broadly benefit the British Columbia wine grape industry and to represent growers on a variety of agriculture-related issues.

The mission of the BC Wine Grape Council is to promote the development of a strong and viable wine grape industry that will result in the production of world-class wines and that will enhance the economic and environmental benefits to British Columbia.

Individuals, partnerships, or corporations located on Mainland BC, growing grapes used in the production of commercial wine become members by paying a $10/short ton (2,000 lbs. or 909 kg) which is collected at the first point of sale. Wineries using the metric system for crop weights should collect $11/metric tonne (1,000 kg). All levies are subject to applicable taxes. This mandatory levy was established under the Farming and Fishing Industries Development Act in 2006.

The funds collected from the levies are intended mainly for research and development and educational projects; as well as other purposes such as to liaise with government agencies and other organizations regarding water, pest, land, and air issues.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Who or what does the organization report to?

Canadian Federal Minister of Health

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory
Summary:

Mitigating risks to food safety is the CFIA's highest priority, and the health and safety of Canadians is the driving force behind the design and development of CFIA programs. The CFIA, in collaboration and partnership with industry, consumers, and federal, provincial, and municipal organizations, continues to work towards protecting Canadians from preventable health risks related to food and zoonotic diseases.

The current and future economic prosperity of the Canadian agriculture and forestry sectors relies on a healthy and sustainable animal and plant resource base. As such, the CFIA is continually improving its program design and delivery in the animal health and plant resource areas in order to minimize and manage risks. In an effort to protect the natural environment from invasive animal and plant diseases and plant pests, the CFIA also performs extensive work related to the protection of environmental biodiversity

Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (MSABC)
Who or what does the organization report to?

Manufacturing Industry

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Voluntary/Non-Regulatory

The industry-led, nonprofit health and safety association for manufacturers and food and beverage processors in British Columbia.

Summary:

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is the industry-led, not-for-profit health and safety association for manufacturers and food processors (including wineries, breweries, and distilleries). The Alliance helps companies build safer workplaces by offering on-site and online support through our team of safety advisors offering knowledge and training to assist in building effective health and safety programs.  

The Alliance is also the Certifying Partner for the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE), which is the Certificate of Recognition program for manufacturers.

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC is not a regulator, but provides health and safety support and training to estate wineries. Winery operators are eligible for the support of a safety advisor, and may contact the Alliance for a free needs assessment, or to request training or specialized safety services such as confined space assessments. 

The Alliance is also the Certification Partner for the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence, the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for food and beverage processors.

Benefits/Costs of joining

Key benefits of working with the Alliance 

As a nonprofit health and safety association, the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC provides confidential, expert assistance to help companies control hazards, get compliant and continue to improve their health and safety programs.  

Key benefits include:

  • Free support and discounted rates on fee-based services for members. 
  • Training and support to help winery owners manage health and safety risks and build effective programs. 
  • Specialized training and assessments in areas such as ergonomics, confined spaces, air quality, noise, machine guarding, combustible dust, and industrial storage racking. 
  • Full-time safety advisors in a Kelowna office to support the winery industry in the Okanagan. 
  • New tools coming this fall to provide micro and small employers the fundamental health and safety knowledge they need to protect workers. 

Bottom-line benefits:

  • Companies that actively use Alliance services and training have fewer injuries. For example, the cohort of companies that have worked with the Alliance the longest has seen a 44.5% reduction injury claims since 2007. 
  • That trend translates to fewer people injured and off work, and a better experience rating means lower WorkSafeBC insurance premiums.  
  • For our certified companies, there are additional financial benefits as well. OSSE-certified members can earn a 10% rebate on their WorkSafeBC premiums and a 15% rebate on their net property insurance premiums. 

Costs of programs 

  • For member companies, the Alliance offers both free and discounted training and services. 
  • For example, members can take advantage of a free needs assessment and GAP analysis of their current health and safety systems—along with regular calls or visits by a safety advisor to help them build or improve their programs. 
  • We offer some free awareness courses online, a selection of low-cost online safety training courses, and instructor-led training onsite or in any of our affordable Open Learning classes. 
  • For companies that need more intensive support or specialized safety services, the Alliance also offers consulting services below market rates for members. 

Safety in the BC winery industry 

The winery industry has more than doubled in size (factoring payroll, # of firms, and people working in the industry) since breaking off from the alcoholic beverage manufacturing classification unit (CU) in 2010. With the tremendous growth of the wine industry in BC, workplace safety enforcement has also increased. In 2019, the number of WorkSafeBC corrective orders issued to wineries doubled. 

Possible reasons for the increased scrutiny: 

  • Injury rates have been creeping up for the last few years and just eclipsed the provincial average last year. 
  • Young worker claims in wineries have more than tripled since 2015, while mature worker's claims have remained nearly constant. 
  • Women make up 42% of all claims. This is much higher than the comparative manufacturing sector claims for women (16.5%). 
  • With the rapid growth in this space, we’re seeing many new, small wineries—small operations that likely lack safety systems and new operators may not yet understand their responsibility in managing health and safety to protect their workers. 
  • Top types of injuries in wineries over the past 5 years: MSIs (27.1% - most of them from overexertion), Struck By-Against (20.7%) and Slips, Trips, Falls (23.7%). 
  • 5 year average for claims cost per year is $381k. But trending down in relation to the growth of the industry.

A safe start:

Getting off to a strong, safe start is critical. By designing your work processes and production facility with injury prevention in mind, you can avoid future accidents and save yourself time and money in the long term. Contact the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC for advice early!

Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC)
Who or what does the organization report to?

The Agriculture Land Commission reports to the British Columbia (BC) Cabinet. It is administered by the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

 

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory

The Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) is an independent administrative tribunal comprised of appointed Commissioners that are responsible for administering the ALC Act.

Summary:

Under Section 6(1) of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) Act, the purposes of the ALC is to:

  • to preserve the agricultural land reserve;
  • to encourage farming of land within the agricultural land reserve in collaboration with other communities of interest; and,
  • to encourage local governments, first nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of land within the agricultural land reserve and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies.

Under Section 6(2) of the ALC Act, the ALC must also give priority to protecting and enhancing:

  • the size, integrity and continuity of the land base of the agricultural land reserve; and,
  • the use of the agricultural land reserve for farm use.

 

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) regulates land uses with the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a Provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use, farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted. The ALR protects approximately 4.6 million hectares of agriculturally suitable land across British Columbia (BC), comprising about 5% of BC's land base. 

The ALC Act sets the legislative framework for the establishment and administration of the agricultural land preservation program.

The ALR General Regulation identifies the procedures for submitting applications and notices of intent to the ALC. 

The ALR Use Regulation specifies land uses permitted within the ALR and establishes thresholds for when an application is required for certain farm use activities such as farm product processing; farm retail sales; agri-tourism accommodation; and agri-tourism activities.

Section 13 of the ALR Use Regulation defines what alcohol products are and sets thresholds for processing, lounges, and events. On a farm up to 2 ha, at least 50% of the primary farm product (e.g. grapes) must come from the farm. On a farm larger than 2 ha, a farm may contract from other BC growers to meet the 50% requirement. Winery lounges cannot exceed 125 sq meters inside and 125 sq meters outside.

Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:

BC wineries are not required to report out to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), though local governments may require that wineries receive endorsements from the ALC to ensure that their facilities are consistent with the ALC Act and its regulations. The ALC works closely with Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) to ensure that wineries are consistent with the ALC Act and its regulations. 

The ALC does not generally get involved with “authorizing”  a winery.  Usually, a local government issues building permits for structures (e.g. the processing facility, lounge, etc.). However, at times local governments request confirmation that the winery is consistent with the input thresholds of the ALR Use Regulation.

Sustainable Winegrowing BC
Who or what does the organization report to?

British Columbia Wine and Grape Council

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Summary:
Benefits/Costs of joining
  • Contribute to a competitive and continually improving wine industry.
  • Increase quality while cutting operating costs.
  • Contribute to biodiversity and minimize your impact to the environment.
  • Take advantage of SWBC educational resources and support network.
  • Enhance relationships with regulators, employees, neighbours, and community.
  • Communicate achievements to consumers.
  • Use assessment results to focus your efforts and show continual improvement.

SWBC is the perfect place to start when deciding how to plant a vineyard or build a winery.  The self-assessment tool addresses many design and operational considerations that are vital to understanding before engaging in help from consultants, builders and architects

Wine Growers British Columbia (WGBC)
Who or what does the organization report to?

WGBC is governed by a Board of Directors that is reflective of best practices in modern corporate governance. The Board consists of nine elected voting winery members and two non-voting ex officio members who oversee the work of the President & CEO (who manages the WGBC), and who provides strategic guidance and effective oversight for the organization and industry. The Board ensures that appropriate systems of governance, leadership, and stewardship are in place to enable WGBC’s President & CEO to manage and lead the organization effectively.

See BOD Features https://winebc.com/industry/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/BOD-Key-Features.pdf

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Summary:

As the peak organization for the BC wine industry, our mission is to represent the interests of the British Columbia wineries dedicated to producing 100% British Columbia grape wines certified by the regulatory body for wine in British Columbia, through marketing, communications, and advocacy of their products to all stakeholders.

Our Vision: British Columbia is recognized as one of the world’s premium wine regions.

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

As the unified BC Wine Industry Representation and Voice: Through collaboration amongst industry stakeholders, groups and organizations,Wine Growers British Columbia is the peak BC wine industry contact, source and voice in providing direction, coordination, and alignment of industry and government resources and efforts including research, analysis, policy recommendations, and advocacy. 

Advocate for and Continue to Support: Policies and programs critical to the success of the BC wine industry. 

Industry Communication: Wine Growers BC will ensure members and stakeholders are communicated with and have access to relevant and current industry information and resources and are knowledgeable about the purpose of Wine Growers BC and the role and responsibilities of the Board of Directors and President & CEO in working on behalf of the BC wine industry. 

BC Wine Authority (BCWA): Wine Growers BC advocates for necessary updates and/or changes to provincial wine regulation to support a model that protects the BC VQA Wine standard within a registration, regulatory, and audit system that covers all wineries in British Columbia. 

Brand Marketing Effectiveness: Our brand is Wines of British Columbia. Our brand will be communicated through all our programs and communications. 

Maximizing the Return-on-Investment of our Program Strategies and Tactics: Wine Growers BC will establish and monitor measurable objectives for our programs to ensure they are effective and efficient in achieving our visionary goals. 

Market Development: Wine Growers BC will identify and prioritize key domestic and international markets based on a measurable return-on-investment to industry and ensure a premium market for current production and future growth. 

BC VQA Wine Stores: Wine Growers BC will continue to ensure our sales channel is maximized to the benefit of the BC wine industry. 

Wine & Food Tourism Marketing: Wine Growers BC recognizes that destination wine and food tourism is critical to the success of BC wineries. Wine Growers BC will take a leadership role in ensuring the Wines of British Columbia play an integral role and that the BC Wine Institute is the key contact of trade and media for provincial marketing and tourism initiatives. 

Our Home Market: Wine Growers BC will ensure that our marketing efforts are strategically aligned and mutually supportive in all sales channels within British Columbia.

Benefits/Costs of joining

Benefits: 

Our mission is to represent the interests of British Columbia wineries dedicated to producing 100% British Columbia grape wines certified by the regulatory body for wine in British Columbia. Our members benefit from the marketing, communications, and advocacy of their products to all stakeholders.

Example reach for one of our 2019 marketing campaigns promoting BC wine: 

Broadcast reach: 5,821,200

Social reach: 540,000

Website: 110,000 pageviews (or 23,800 from just the two campaign pages)

Newsletter reach: 20,000

Our strategic communications efforts provide members with regular and timely news updates including; 

    • industry trends and business updates
    • government policy
    • sales figures
    • competitions and conferences
    • education and webinars
    • network opportunities 
  • Access to information resources, key messaging, media requests, business, education, and network opportunities.

As the leading voice of British Columbia’s certified 100% BC wine industry, WGBC works closely with all levels of government and builds partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders to meet the business needs and policy interests to create common solutions to the shared challenges for our industry.

Fees: 

WGBC member fees are based on the volume of wine with 100% BC grape content your winery sells in BC. The fee is $0.10 per litre, with an annual minimum of $100

WorkSafeBC
Who or what does the organization report to?

BC Ministry of Labour

Mandatory/Regulatory or Voluntary/Non-Regulatory
Mandatory/Regulatory
Summary:

WorksafeBC was established by provincial legislation as an agency with the mandate to oversee a no-fault insurance system for the workplace. Most employers in BC are required to register and the insurance coverage is automatic for their workers

WorksafeBC:

  • promotes the prevention of workplace injury, illness, and disease through regulatory development and enforcement
  • provides compensation and medical benefits including workers' loss of wages while recovering from injuries. WorksafeBC also provides rehabilitation services for those who are injured.
  • is solely funded by employers in BC and not by public taxes. Employers register and pay insurance premiums directly to WorkSafeBC

 

What does the organization regulate or is in charge of with respect to Vineyards/Wineries:

Workplace injury claims 

If a worker is injured while working for an employer in B.C., they can receive compensation through WorkSafeBC.

  • all “workers” (as defined by the Workers Compensation Act) are covered, regardless of whether or not their employer is registered or of their immigration status
  • it is against the law to prevent or coerce workers to not file a work-related injury

Workplace Health and Safety

WorkSafeBC develops and regulates health and safety laws in BC through:

  • Consultation, outreach, and partnerships
  • Regulation and enforcement
  • Inspections (over 300 officers in BC) and online database (available to the public) of employers who have penalties for non-compliance

Additional Information:

  • If a worker is injured at work, WorkSafeBC insurance covers medical costs, wages/salary if you are unable to work, and rehabilitation costs, but it does not pay for “pain and suffering”
  • Most other provinces (such as Alberta and Ontario) do not have a similar agency that includes both claims management and health and safety enforcement. Generally, their “WCB” only handles injury claims and the health and safety enforcement falls directly under a government department (eg Labour).
Required Reporting for BC Vineyards/Wineries:
  • workplace injuries
  • serious incidents 
  • completed injury investigations
  • contractor clearance letters (optional)
  • report payroll
Benefits/Costs of joining

Benefits of Joining

  • If a worker submits a claim and the employer is not registered when they should have been, the claim will still be paid by WorkSafeBC and then WorkSafeBC can seek legal action to recover the full cost of the claim.
  • Injured workers cannot sue employers for work-related injuries
  • Work with WorkSafeBC to prevent work-related injuries and to manage injury claims to promote a safe and healthy return to work 
  • Having WorkSafeBC insurance ensures that all of your workers are insured for workplace injuries and illnesses that occur in the course of their employment.

WorkSafeBC also provides premiums from the winery CU employers to the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC so they can provide health and safety support and resources to employers in need.

Costs of Joining

  • WorksafeBC uses “base rates” to calculate annual assessment amounts. For example, in 2020 the rates are:
    • CU 711023 Winery (including vineyards owned by a winery) $1.18/$100 payroll
    • CU 701026 Vineyard (not owned by a winery) $1.24/$100 payroll
  • WorksafeBC uses total payroll for the calendar year to determine the assessment amount. If the annual amount is estimated at over $1,500 the payment is due quarterly. If not, annually.
  • There is also an “experience” rating for each employer that can result in a 50% discount or $100% surcharge on the base rate. The rating is based on your claims costs relative to other businesses in your CU (classification unity)

Before starting a winery or vineyard, read the Health and Safety Guide for Wineries and Vineyards 

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