The LCBO is proud to work together with our agents and suppliers to provide Ontarians with a vast selection of local and international beverage alcohol products that comply with all regulatory requirements for quality and safety. With ever-expanding sales channels and a growing product portfolio, we are continually looking at opportunities to expedite the product flow, streamline our processes and enhance operational efficiencies to serve you better.
To support these goals, Quality Assurance, together with our Merchandising and Specialty Services teams, are introducing the following updates:
1. Process changes for LCBO submission products
After a recent review of the processes supporting new product submissions (NISS) for LCBO brands, we identified an opportunity to help bring your products to market faster. Effective immediately, product samples that pass the sensory evaluation stage will no longer undergo chemical analysis. This initiative will be an extension of the direction introduced in July 2019 for Vintages submissions. Please note that the first shipments of product that are selected for purchase and for sale to the public, will continue to undergo chemical testing and label compliance reviews. This is the case for all products destined for LCBO retail. Applicable testing charges will be applied for the product testing.
It is the responsibility of agents and suppliers to ensure their products meet all Canadian regulations including, without limitation, LCBO chemical, labelling and packaging standards, as well as the LCBO Supplier Code of Business Conduct. Suppliers and agents who wish to perform an independent, preliminary analysis prior to shipping a product to the LCBO may engage the services of the LCBO Quality Assurance laboratory for the testing of select chemical components or for more comprehensive testing packages.
An advance analysis can help agents and suppliers identify products that may not meet the LCBO Chemical Guidelines, however this testing does not substitute the testing required for first shipments of a new product, or any other testing as required by LCBO’s quality assurance protocols.
2. Lab testing fees
Through its programs and testing services, LCBO's Quality Assurance department supports the organization’s goal of ensuring Ontarians have access to safe, authentic, quality products that are in compliance with all regulations.
Quality Assurance’s pricing structure has remained unchanged for the past four years, all while expanding its testing capabilities. Effective November 1, 2021, Quality Assurance service fees for chemical analysis of beverage alcohol products will slightly increase as follows: the standard analysis cost per sample of wine and beer will increase from CA$225 to CA$250 and from CA$200 to CA$225 for spirits (plus taxes where applicable). The cost of all standard analyses performed by the LCBO Quality Assurance laboratory will be charged back to the supplier of the product.
Effective April 1, 2022, the lab testing fees will be applied for products where the annual quantity exceeds 90L. When a product testing fee waiver is enacted, an administration fee of $50 (plus taxes) per waiver will be applied, to facilitate the waiver processing.
Inquiries about LCBO submission updates may be directed to the appropriate LCBO Category Manager. Inquiries about Quality Assurance requirements for product testing and compliance or laboratory testing services may be directed to the LCBO Quality Assurance Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 864-6724.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership and collaboration as we work together to foster an optimized supply chain, to increase consumers access to new and innovative beverage alcohol products and advance our commitment to leading positive change to the beverage alcohol industry.
- Nick Nanos
- SVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer, LCBO