SAQ monopoly pads government revenues but isn’t necessarily in shoppers' best interest

Published: 9 May 2024

Despite being a lucrative revenue source for the government, the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) monopoly is under scrutiny for limiting consumer choices, especially for premium spirits like high-end bourbons. Exclusive distribution rights mean that if SAQ doesn’t stock a particular brand, it won’t be available in Quebec's retail outlets.

In an interview with CBC, Vivek Astvansh, Associate Professor specializing in quantitative marketing and analytics at McGill Desautels, highlights the monopoly's profitability for the government, while noting its drawbacks for consumers. “These crown corporations are essentially cash cows,” Astvansh states. “While they generate significant revenue for the provincial government, they do not necessarily serve consumers' best interests. Introducing competition would be beneficial for consumers.”

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