Winery/Brewery/Distillery FAQ

Q: When did the program come into effect?
A: All sales channels for beverage alcohol began applying a refundable deposit amount to wine, beer and spirit containers starting February 5, 2007. Only wine, beer and spirit containers purchased in Ontario on or after this date are eligible for a refund.

Q: What are the deposit rates?
A: Most wine, beer and spirit containers 631mL or over carry a $0.20 deposit; those 630mL or under carry a $0.10 deposit; wine, beer and spirit containers 100mL or under are exempt but still can be returned; aluminum cans over 1L carry a $0.20 deposit; those 1L and under carry a $0.10 deposit.

Q: Am I expected to charge a deposit fee on the products I sell?
A: Yes, with a few exceptions. The chart at the bottom of this page outlines the deposit amounts that are to be applied per individual unit sold.

Q: What about the containers for wines or spirits that I don't actually sell but use as samples for in-store customers, trade events and other promotions?
A: All wine, beer and spirit containers that a winery or distillery releases into the market whether by product sale or through sampling (and related releases) require the application of a deposit. These deposits will be remitted to LCBO.

Q: Does this include sales that wineries make directly to licensees?
A: Yes. Deposit amounts are the same for licensees as they are for retail consumers.

Q: Do I have a choice in how I show the deposit amount (i.e., either on the shelf – “price in” – or added at the point of sale – “price out”)?
A: Wineries and distilleries are free to display the deposit amount for customers as they see fit. LCBO has opted for a “price in” approach with the deposit amount clearly indicated on bin tags, consistent with the existing treatment of deposit-carrying beer sold at the LCBO and The Beer Store (TBS).

Q: Do I have to pay a service fee to The Beer Store (TBS) for handling my wine, beer and spirit containers?
A: No. These payments are made by the LCBO on behalf of wineries and distilleries. Wineries and distilleries only need to remit their deposit revenues to the LCBO, so that these may in turn be paid to The Beer Store (TBS) to refund customers at the time of empty returns.

Q: How are customers informed about the new deposits?
A: A comprehensive public information campaign informed consumers of the program. In January 2007, wineries and distilleries received a “kit” of materials to support the program in their stores, including signage, posters and brochures. Comprehensive information is available to consumers on this website.

Q: Can I accept wine, beer and spirit containers from my customers?
A: The Beer Store has an exclusive contract with the Province to operate this deposit program. Ontario wineries and distilleries may choose to accept wine, beer and spirit containers and refund deposits to consumers at their own expense, but any such wine, beer and spirit containers must be returned to The Beer Store (TBS) to obtain a refund. Amounts refunded to customers may not be deducted from amounts wineries and distilleries are required to remit to the LCBO.

Q: Why can't I deduct deposits I provide to my customers from amounts owing to the LCBO?
A: The LCBO is obligated to reimburse The Beer Store (TBS) for all deposit amounts that The Beer Store (TBS) pays out to anyone who returns wine, beer and spirit containers for a refund, and pay The Beer Store (TBS) a service fee for these wine, beer and spirit containers, including wine, beer and spirit containers that Ontario wineries and distilleries release on to the market. Amounts that wineries and distilleries are required to remit to the LCBO will compensate the LCBO for deposit amounts it must pay to The Beer Store (TBS). Wineries and distilleries are not required to compensate the LCBO for The Beer Store (TBS) service fees that the LCBO pays on behalf of Ontario wineries and distilleries.

Q: Can I get my own bottles back for refilling?
A: While the contract with The Beer Store (TBS) is an exclusive one for the fixed five-year term, the potential for a refillable program for generic wine bottles has been raised with the government. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal is open to discuss the feasibility of establishing such a program for wine bottles with the industry in the future.

Q: Do I have to implement any new systems or procedures to track and record deposits I've charged?
A: Ontario wineries and distilleries are required to account for all wine, beer and spirit containers released into the Ontario market and remit appropriate deposit amounts to the LCBO on a monthly basis. These reports and remittances are also reviewed as part of the Winery Audit process. Current reporting and remittance forms have been revised for this purpose. The LCBO shared with wineries and distilleries more detailed information on reporting and remitting requirements in January, 2007.

Q: Do I have to incur costs associated with reconfiguring my cash registers/receipts if necessary to properly process deposit collection and refunds?
A: While wineries and distilleries may incur some initial costs to make the administrative changes necessary to collect and remit deposits, LCBO will pay The Beer Store (TBS) recycling service fees on behalf of Ontario wineries and distilleries.

Q: Is this program in place because the Blue Box isn't working?
A: To the contrary, Ontario’s Blue Box program is very successful. In fact, today, 25 years after it was introduced, it is acclaimed the world over as one of the most recognizable symbols of environmental responsibility. Thanks to the Blue Box, we’ve made exceptional progress in diverting our waste in this province and millions of Ontarians have changed their views and -- more important -- their habits with respect to environmental stewardship.

Deposit Return will enhances the Blue Box program, helps to increase the number of wine and spirit containers that are recycled, and frees up space in Blue Boxes, allowing municipalities to expand recycling programs.

Q: Does the deposit-return apply to those domestic wineries that already reuse and refill bottles or are they exempted?
A: Yes. These domestic wineries are still compelled to charge deposits on their products.

Q: Are there incentives for wineries who want to offer refillable bottles and conduct sorting, washing and packaging?
A: We recognize the value of re-use and will work with wineries that demonstrate that they are refilling their own wine, beer and spirit containers, to accommodate their recycling program.

Q: Where can I get more information about the program?
A: Details on the government's contract with The Beer Store are available at http://www.pir.gov.on.ca/.

Ontario Deposit Return Summary Chart

LCBO will start collecting deposits on wine, beer and spirit containers: February 5, 2007
The Beer Store (TBS) or other designated return locations will start accepting returns and providing refunds: February 5, 2007
Beverage alcohol container returns will be accepted and refunds provided at these return locations:
  • The Beer Store (TBS) Stores
  • Empty Bottle Dealers*
  • Commercial Return Locations
  • Agency Stores
  • Retail Partners
Deposit Rates:
Wine, Beer and Spirit Containers

Glass bottles, plastic bottles (PET), Tetra Pak containers, bag-in-box
Deposit / Refund Amount
Containers less than or equal to 630mL 10¢
Containers over 630mL 20¢
Aluminum and steel containers Deposit / Refund Amount
Aluminum and steel containers less than or equal to 1L 10¢
Aluminum and steel containers over 1L 20¢
Exempt containers
  • Containers 100mL or less (e.g., 50mL minis)
  • Containers purchased at duty-free stores, U-Vint and U-Brew
No deposit collected or refund offered for these items

* The Beer Store (TBS) has contracts with approximately 150 Empty Bottle Dealers in rural communities.

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