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Access by Canadians to regulated liquor and cannabis retail outlets, fourth quarter 2018

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Released: 2018-10-10

The retailing system for liquor products is tightly regulated in Canada and starting October 17, a similar system will be put in place for cannabis products as well. However, while the liquor retailing system is well established and has existed for many decades, the one for cannabis is new and will require years to fully develop. As of August 2018, there were 2,895 liquor stores in Canada, while early information from the provincial regulatory authorities indicates there may be 288 cannabis retail outlets open for business in the fourth quarter. There will be many more cannabis stores opened in subsequent quarters.

With a relatively small number of cannabis "bricks and mortar" outlets, many Canadians may find it inconvenient to purchase cannabis in the early months, although they will also have the option of purchasing online or growing it for themselves. The situation will vary greatly across the country as some provinces are more advanced in preparing for retail cannabis sales after October 17, while others are not expected to open legal sales outlets until some months later.

In the case of liquor stores, 90% of Canadians live within 10 kilometres (km) of a retail outlet and 82% live within 5 km. However, in the case of cannabis it is estimated that only 35% of Canadians will live within 10 km and 25% within 5 km of an authorized retail outlet in the fourth quarter of 2018. On the one hand, British Columbia is expected to lead the way with 73% living within the 10 km radius. On the other hand, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are not expected to have any cannabis retail outlets in the fourth quarter. Quebec is expected to have 40% of its population within the 10 km radius and the other provinces and territories are all expected to have between 55% and 66% within the radius.

  Note to readers

Statistics Canada is collecting information on cannabis prices through a crowdsourcing site, StatsCannabis. Please visit the site and share your information with confidence; participation is anonymous.


The document "Access by Canadians to regulated liquor and cannabis retail outlets," which is part of Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalogue number13-605-X), is now available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is also available.

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