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Ford digs in on booze sales expansion plan as LCBO strike drags on

Ford digs in on booze sales expansion plan as LCBO strike drags on
Ford digs in on booze sales expansion plan as LCBO strike drags on

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 10 يوليو 2024 11:41 صباحاً

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his government will move forward with further opening the alcohol retail market in the province, despite demands from the union representing striking LCBO workers to reconsider parts of the plan.

"Rolling back from the plan that we have a clear mandate from the people to implement is out of the question," Ford said at a news conference Wednesday.

"The status quo right now favours big business over small businesses, and I don't think that's fair."

Beginning later this summer, retailers like grocery, big box and convenience stores will be able to sell beer, wine, cider and ready-to-drink cocktails such as hard seltzers with up to 7.1 per cent alcohol content.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents striking LCBO workers, says that Ford's plan poses an existential threat to the LCBO.

OPSEU argues the expansion threatens the viability of the LCBO as a retailer and will lead to mass layoffs at the 97-year-old Crown corporation. The LCBO currently generates a roughly $2.5 billion annual revenue dividend for the province, a substantial portion of which is spent on key public services like health care and education.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said this week the government is "more committed than ever" to its plan to modernize Ontario's alcohol market. In social media messaging, Ford and his MPPs have attempted to paint the ongoing strike as opportunity for consumers to seek out local, Ontario-made products like craft beer and ciders.

On Monday, Ford rolled out an interactive online map to help consumers find booze retailers in their area.

Meanwhile, OPSEU members have been picketing at LCBO distribution warehouses in an attempt to disrupt deliveries of online alcohol sales.

More to come.

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