Ontario has announced big changes to alcohol sales. Here’s how it’ll work

Click to play video: 'Ontario to allow convenience, big box stores to sell alcohol'
Ontario to allow convenience, big box stores to sell alcohol
WATCH: Ontario is revamping the rules on alcohol sales, meaning convenience stores and big box retailers will be able to sell booze. Mackenzie Gray explains the changes – Dec 14, 2023

The Ford government announced Thursday that big changes are coming to the way alcohol is sold in Ontario, with beer, wine, cider, coolers, seltzers and other drinks coming to all participating convenience stores and grocery stores.

The changes will take effect no later than Jan. 1, 2026, which is just after an agreement with The Beer Store will come to an end and not be renewed, the province said.

“There’s no reason why Ontario consumers shouldn’t enjoy the same convenient shopping experience as Canadians in every other province when buying some wine for their holiday party or a case of beer or seltzers on their way to the cottage,” Premier Doug Ford said.

Here are some of the highlights of what will be changing:

What will be sold in convenience, grocery and big-box stores

The changes will mean there will be up to 8,500 new stores where alcohol products can be purchased, which is the “largest expansion of consumer choice and convenience since the end of prohibition,” the province said.

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Ontario said it is is removing pack size restrictions and exclusivity, meaning all pack sizes will be allowed to be sold in all participating stores, including 12-packs, 24-packs and even 30-packs.


The LCBO will continue to sell spirits.

Click to play video: 'Ford government to liberalize the sale of alcohol in Ontario'
Ford government to liberalize the sale of alcohol in Ontario

‘Competitive pricing’

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The government said it will introduce “competitive pricing” to private retailers.

Retailers will have the option to set promotional prices consistent with regulations. Minimum pricing policies will remain in effect.

The LCBO, meanwhile, will “maintain consistent pricing” throughout Ontario to ensure people don’t pay more based on where they live, the province said.

The government said it will continue to meet and consult with industry partners and producers “on additional areas of the future marketplace including licensing, wholesale pricing and taxes, mark-ups and fees.”

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“The province will also conduct a broader review of taxes and fees on beer, wine and alcoholic beverages with the aim of promoting a more competitive marketplace for Ontario-based producers and consumers,” it said.

What will happen to The Beer Store?

The Beer Store, like the LCBO, will continue to sell products in the new marketplace, the government said.

The Beer Store has also agreed to continue its “primary role” in the distribution of beer to retailers, bars, and restaurants until at least 2031, the province said.

More flexible distribution models will be allowed for small producers.

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The LCBO will also work to distribute products in the expanded marketplace and will be the exclusive wholesaler for “all retail, bars and restaurants selling alcohol,” the province said.


The Beer Store agreed to continue to run the provincewide recycling program for empties until at least 2031.

“The government will consult with retailers and industry stakeholders on the future of recycling and deposit return to ensure this important feature is maintained beyond 2031,” the province said.

Supports for local producers

The Ford government said it is providing a range of supports for local producers, including extending dedicated shelf space requirements and introducing legislation that would eliminate the 6.1 per cent wine basic tax at on-site winery stores.


The province announced it is providing an additional $10 million over five years for the Ministry of Health ” to support social responsibility and public health efforts to ensure alcohol continues to be sold and consumed safely in the expanded marketplace.”

Existing requirements of minimum pricing, staff training, hours of sale and warning signs will be applied to all new outlets.

Additional information on the announced changes can be found on the province’s website.

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