Ban alcohol sales through grocery store self-checkouts: OPSEU

With the privatization of alcohol sales, OPSEU asks the question: “Who’s winning here? It isn’t Ontarians."

Toronto (12 Sept. 2016) — The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is demanding that the government of Ontario rethink its guidelines surrounding alcohol sales through self-checkouts, and ban the practice entirely.

Buying beer through self-checkouts can lead to increased abuse

The call comes after the union learned that a member of the public lodged a complaint with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) after seeing a visibly intoxicated man purchasing beer through a self-checkout kiosk at a local grocery store.

“Under the current regulations, grocery stores can decide for themselves whether to sell beer through self-checkouts,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President. “As far as I’m concerned, this is an open invitation to intoxicated and underage customers to try to purchase alcohol illegally.”

Government has no regard for socially responsible alcohol policies

Denise Davis, chair of the Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED), of OSPEU/NUPGE is also wary of the lax laws.

“Where is the social responsibility in this?” said Davis. “How can the government tell us it is liberalizing alcohol sales in a socially responsible way? If we look at the track record so far — ‘Sandy’s Law’ not being implemented until we publicly demanded it, creeping privatization of the LCBO without public consultation, and now, intoxicated people buying alcohol completely unhindered — it’s pretty clear there is no regard for socially responsible alcohol policies.”

Privatizing alcohol sales means increased social costs to the public, but no revenue to cover those costs

OPSEU/NUPGE has already been vocally opposed to the government’s decision to liberalize and privatize the sale of alcohol in Ontario, citing cases where other provinces that did so saw increased alcohol-related harms and costs.

“The havoc wreaked by liberalization and privatization of alcohol sales is twofold. Thanks to liberalization, we will have increased availability of alcohol, which means increased harms and costs for emergency services, law enforcement, health care, lost work-time, and so on. And thanks to privatization, we will have reduced public funds to cover those extra costs,” said Thomas.

“Who’s winning here? It isn’t Ontarians."


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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