MADD Canada says public safety could suffer under Ontario's plan to allow grocery stories to sell liquor

"The concern is not about the location of the sales, the concern is who is actually doing the selling," says MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie said. "Provided these outlets are run by the LCBO and staffed by trained LCBO personnel, with their established commitment and attention to responsible alcohol sales and social responsibility practices, then we do not believe there would be significant risks."

Ottawa (15 April 2015) — MADD Canada says there will be fatal consequences if Ontario's Liberal government decides to allow grocery stores to sell liquor without meaningful oversight by the provincial government.

"Selling alcohol in grocery stores without the oversight of the LCBO amounts to privatization of alcohol sales, and that carries a whole host of serious public health and safety risks," says MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. "Governments have a responsibility to control and regulate alcohol sales in a way that protects the public. The most effective way to do this is through liquor control boards, rather than individual, privatized retailers."

Research shows liquor privatization is dangerous

Like other provincial governments across the country, Ontario is considering loosening its regulations around who can sell liquor and when. But as MADD Canada notes in its press release about Ontario's plans, international and Canadian research has consistently shown that privatized systems typically result in increased access to alcohol (e.g. more locations, longer hours of sale, etc.) which leads to increased alcohol consumption and increased alcohol-related problems in society.

MADD Canada goes on to note that alcohol is linked with more than 65 medical conditions and is a contributing factor in injuries, impairments and deaths caused by illness, impaired driving, homicides, suicides, assaults, fires and other adverse events that threaten public safety and community well-being. The costs of those alcohol-related harms, including lost productivity, health care costs, and law enforcement costs, run into billions of dollars every year.

Properly trained liquor sales staff reduces risks

"The concern is not about the location of the sales, the concern is who is actually doing the selling," said Murie said. "Provided these outlets are run by the LCBO and staffed by trained LCBO personnel, with their established commitment and attention to responsible alcohol sales and social responsibility practices, then we do not believe there would be significant risks." 

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