Ontario would be better off with LCBO outlets.
Toronto (9 April 2007) - If Ontario really believes corner stores should not be selling wine and beer, the province should phase out most privately-run "agency stores" and replace them with public LCBO outlets, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
The union recently released a report showing that replacement of the 60 to 90 existing agency stores with LCBO outlets would generate an additional $250 million to $340 million in net revenue for provincial coffers over the next 10 years.
"LCBO stores are the most socially responsible way to sell alcohol in this province, and we're glad the premier agrees with us," says OPSEU president Leah Casselman.
"That's why we're asking him to replace private agency stores with real LCBO outlets, wherever it is financially feasible to do so."
Agency stores are private enterprises licenced to sell wine, beer and spirits as a sideline in grocery stores, convenience stores and other retail outlets in small to mid-size communities. Last May the government announced plans to open another 20 agency stores.
In the wake of the current scandal over unscrupulous lottery retailing practices in Ontario corner stores, Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he will not allow general corner store wine and beer sales.
McGuinty says the LCBO, which is owned and run by the province, and Beer Store outlets, operated by the brewing industry, do a good job of controlling sales to minors. Thus, the government wants the existing system to remain in place.
Casselman has welcomed the vote of support for socially-responsible LCBO employees. However, she has also noted that the premier has been conspicuously silent on the issue of agency outlets. OPSEU represents more than 6,000 unionized LCBO employees. NUPGE