May 22, 2015 5:36 am

LCBO union wants province to hold off on putting beer in grocery stores

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WATCH: Premier Kathleen Wynne says the monopoly on beer in the province is now over as up to 450 stores will begin selling beer. Marianne Dimain reports.

TORONTO – The union representing Liquor Control Board of Ontario workers is calling on the provincial government to shelve its plan to allow up to 450 grocery stores to sell beer.

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Denise Davis of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says the plan is being rushed through without proper study and without proper consultation.

“The government hasn’t listened to anyone with actual expertise around alcohol policy,” Davis said in a media release.

Davis told a legislative committee hearing Thursday that expanding beer sales into grocery stores must be put on hold until there are open and transparent discussions about alcohol policy.

READ MORE: Ontario Budget 2015: Five things you need to know

OPSEU President Warren Thomas says expanding the number of outlets that sell alcohol will encourage Ontario residents to drink more.

“It is a controlled substance, and for good reason. Our current alcohol retail system is a wise compromise between the dangers of the unregulated market and the absurdity of Prohibition, and it’s a system that works,” said Thomas.

The provincial government announced in its 2015 budget to allow the sale of beer in 150 grocery stores by May 1, 2017 with that number increasing to 450 by 2027.

In addition to selling beer in grocery stores, Ontario will start a new project to sell 12-packs of beer in 10 LCBO stores, and make it easier for craft brewers to list their products in the 447 Beer Store locations across the province.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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