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Quebecers flocking to Ontario liquor stores for alcohol purchases

Click to play video: 'Quebecers crossing Ontario border for liquor following SAQ labour dispute' Quebecers crossing Ontario border for liquor following SAQ labour dispute
WATCH: Quebecers are flocking to Ontario liquor stores to buy their alcohol. The ongoing strike with the SAQ's distribution workers has many store shelves empty in La Belle Province. As Tim Sargeant reports, some Quebecers are clearly fearing running dry as the holidays approach – Dec 9, 2021

It’s non-stop shopping at the LCBO in Hawkesbury, Ont., and most of the clients are from the other side of the border in Quebec.

Quebecers are flocking to the store at all opening hours due to a lack of supply at the SAQ outlets.

“We decided to come here knowing we would get more choice because of what’s going on at the SAQ right now,” Armand Boudreau, an LCBO client from Vaudreuil told Global News.

A labour dispute between SAQ employees at the distribution centre and management has led to a shortage of supply at many SAQ outlets.

“In Quebec all the SAQ on strike. So, it’s empty,” Nathalie Nassif, an LCBO client from Saint-Sauveur, told Global News.

Read more: Employees of SAQ refuse to sign the principle agreement

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The SAQ workers recently rejected the latest contract offer by management but they’re not currently on strike. But the impasse with their employer has delayed deliveries of wine and spirits to SAQ outlets, leaving many shelves empty.

“We decided to come here (LCBO) knowing we would get more choice because of what’s going on at the SAQ right now,” Armand Boudreau, LCBO client from Vaudreuil, told Global News.

It’s not just shoppers who are feeling squeezed by Quebec’s liquor commission.

The owner of the Taverne sur le Square in Westmount complains the SAQ conflict is dwindling his supply at the worst possible time and the control the SAQ has on the bar and restaurant industry in Quebec makes matters worse.

“What does a monopoly give me? It gives me a strike at Christmas time at the busiest time of the year after coming through a 18-month pandemic. It’s just unconscionable,” Stephen Leslie, owner of Taverne sur le Square, told Global News.

Quebecers will likely continue flocking to LCBO outlets on the other side of the border until the SAQ can guarantee its shelves will be plentiful.

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