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COLUMN: Have LCBO workers met their Waterloo in Premier Dad?

Province should shelve its 'responsible liquor sale, service and delivery training' while adding buying options since it's 'a significant waste of time, money and resources'
Doug Ford enjoys some barbecue and cold brew in his video hyping Ontario's many options for buying booze.

Have LCBO workers met their Waterloo?

It sure would seem that way.

With the province seemingly putting the final touches on the end of Brewer’s Retail (hey, I’m old school), can the Licboes (sic) of the province be far behind?

Just this week, Premier Dad (aka Doug Ford) put out a folksy video about how the summer’s a great time to get together, unwind and celebrate. Yay!

The video shows Doug doing some barbecuing and then reaching for a beer “made right here” in Ontario.

"Even though LCBO workers are on strike, there are still plenty of options for you," the jovial premier says as he tries to place a hamburger patty on a bun.

Ford then heads to his laptop to show the good people of the province where they can conveniently buy beer, wine, cider and yes, even spirits as he helpfully points out. He emphasizes that even though some people are on strike, smaller LCBO outlets located in stores are still open to help you get your daily helping of hooch.

From there, he concludes his presentation by outlining the province’s plan to allow even more sales options in the fall with the introduction of hundreds of new approved locations in convenience stores and specialty food shops.

So will this spell the beginning of the end for the LCBO?

Likely not as Québec, which has a much more liberal approach to beer and wine sales, continues to maintain its SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec) locations for sales of higher-end wines and beers as well as hard liquor.

But where Ontario could definitely follow Québec's lead remains how they sell beer, cider and wine in stores across the province.

They don’t make grocery store and depanneur employees take some sort of airy-fairy course to give the impression that even though they’re allowing widespread sales, they want to ensure those scanning your purchases have completed a course to "confidently" scan said purchase.

Referred to on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario website as “Responsible Liquor Sale, Service and Delivery Training.”

According to the AGCO’s information, “the grocery store operator shall ensure that any person involved in the sale or sampling of liquor has obtained a certificate demonstrating the successful completion of responsible liquor sale, service and delivery training.”

What a farce and a significant waste of time, money and resources.

Having just returned from a week’s sojourn in Québec City, it's hard to understand why Ontario continues to be so over-protective.

At one grocery store, the clerk looked to be 14, maybe 15.

He didn't seem flummoxed when the customer purchased a few cans produced by local brewer La Barberie along with some baba ganoush, tzatziki, lentil salad and a baguette.

He didn’t require some special course that is likely only there to check some sort of bureaucratic box (similar to WHMIS training for office workers).

Ontario would be wise to follow Québec's lead and give its retail workers a break.

(To view the premier's video, click here.)

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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country‚Äôs most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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