OPSEU demands moratorium and accuses Premier Dalton McGuinty of breaking another election promise
Toronto (18 May 2006) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is calling for a moratorium on the opening of any more privately-operated "agency" outlets of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, pending appropriate public hearings.
Another 20 potential new private outlets were announced by the government-owned board this week.
OPSEU, which represents 6,000 LCBO employees, says the announcement today represents another broken promise by Premier Dalton McGuinty, who said before the election he would stop expansion of the agency stores program.
"The plan to open new agency stores is a direct threat to the LCBO's social responsibility mandate," says Mike Sullivan, acting chair of the OPSEU division representing LCBO workers.
"These stores are private businesses, so there is always a potential conflict between maximizing profits and the best interest of the community. The LCBO has no way to guarantee agency stores won't sell alcohol to minors, people who are intoxicated, or people who may drink and drive."
As well as undercutting social responsibility, agency stores short-change the communities they are supposed to benefit, OPSEU says. "Customers deserve the top quality service and selection that a real LCBO store provides," Sullivan said.
"In most of the 20 communities, there is a public liquor store just a few kilometres down the road. Why not expand these stores' selection and hours of operation rather than undercut them with poorly stocked private stores?"
Diverting revenue into agency store profits also jeopardizes the LCBO's ability to generate provincial revenue to pay for health care, education and public services, the union says.
The 20 communities where the LCBO could open new agency outlets are: Amberley, Brigden, Castleton, Chaffey's Lock, Clear Creek, Dashwood, Erieau/Erie Beach, Flesherton/Eugenia, Gobles/Princeton, Lighthouse Cove, Lowbanks/Long Beach, McArthur Mills, McGregor, Melbourne, North Augusta, Oil Springs, Port Franks, Rockton, Walters Falls and White Lake. The new stores could open by late 2006 or 2007, the government says. NUPGE