Doug Ford announced today that he will modernize the rules for selling beer and wine in Ontario by expanding points of sale, based on consumer demand and on what’s more convenient for consumers.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that, if elected on June 7, our government will expand the sale of beer and wine into corner stores, box stores and grocery stores all across our province,” stated Ford. “As we approach the Victoria Day Weekend, it is time to acknowledge that Ontario is mature enough for this change and ready join other jurisdictions in making life a little more convenient.”
An Ontario PC Government would also withdraw from the bad deal that the Wynne Liberals negotiated with foreign multinational beer corporations and instead encourage a level playing field where retail options are based on local demand as opposed to government decree.
“Consumers will soon be able to grab a bottle of wine in the same location where they get their groceries for an evening dinner with guests, or grab a case of beer around the corner from where they live, so they can entertain friends,” stated Ford. “I believe in doing what’s convenient for the people, and not what’s convenient for the government.”
Under the Ontario PC Plan, all new points of sale for alcohol would have to adhere to high standards of compliance and be regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in a similar fashion to how the Beer Store and LCBO are regulated today.
“Other provinces have already conclusively demonstrated that you can expand points of sale in this way while rigorously enforcing the law,” said Ford. “Our plan both respects Ontario consumers and supports some of our most dynamic local businesses. It is the right thing to do for the people.”
Backgrounder – Modernize Beer and Wine Sales
- Alcohol reform is something long desired by the people of Ontario.
- Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals have previously promised that “when it comes to the sale of beer in Ontario […] the status quo is over.”
- On this issue, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals have talked a big game, but done precious little to reform alcohol sales in Ontario.
- For instance, in 2017, the Liberals negotiated a secret, backroom deal with the foreign multinationals that control The Beer Store, and roughly 72.5% of all beer sales in this province.
- Under this agreement, the Liberals are only planning to expand beer and wine sales to 450 grocery stores – and zero corner stores – and have authorized distribution in only 370 grocery stores so far.
- The Wynne Liberal’s approach to beer and wine sales is not enough.
- Kathleen Wynne is against the further expansion of alcohol sales in Ontario, as she has previously rejected a push from additional retailers, such as convenience stores, for the ability to sell beer and wine.
How We Will Fix It:
- A Doug Ford Ontario PC Government will further expand sales of beer and wine into corner stores, grocery stores, and box stores, based on market demand and not government decree.
- To do this, the Ontario PCs will withdraw from the secret, backroom deal negotiated between the Liberals and foreign multinational beer companies.
- These new points of sale for alcohol, including ciders and coolers, will be regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in a similar fashion as The Beer Store and LCBO.
- This policy will be implemented as soon as possible. Once in place, any corner store, grocery store, or box store will be eligible to sell beer and wine as long as they meet the requirements set out by the AGCO, similar to those currently in place for grocery stores.
- A Doug Ford-led Ontario PC Government will maintain the current LCBO model as part of expanding distribution of beer and wine. The LCBO will continue to play an important role in wholesale and distribution and will remain one of various locations for the people of Ontario to buy their beer, wine and spirits.
- Ontario wines and craft beers will be available for the new retailers to sell in their stores. Alberta serves as a good example on how this policy will increase consumer choice. According to the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission, there are currently 21,793 spirits, wines beers, coolers and ciders available for sale in Alberta. Compare that to the mere 13,618 offered by the LCBO. When local breweries thrive, so does the local economy.