OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division

LCBO workers’ anti-privatization campaign goes to Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay – Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members at the LCBO will host their eighth information picket on Saturday, this time in Thunder Bay. The picket is part of the union’s campaign against the expansion of alcohol sales into grocery stores.

Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5: 00 p.m.
Place: Outside LCBO Store #616, 969 Fort William Road (Fort William and Main), Thunder Bay

“People are getting the message,” said Local 741 president Anne Makela. “When we started this campaign, no one was making the connection between liberalizing sales and privatization of a massive public asset. It’s becoming clearer, though, that this expansion of alcohol sales really is just privatization by the back door.”

The Ontario government has begun liberalizing and privatizing alcohol sales with minimal public consultation. Already, some 60 stores across the province are selling beer and cider. Expansion will continue as wine starts selling in 70 grocery stores by October 28.

The concerns voiced by OPSEU members and the public alike stem from knowing the social and economic costs associated with liberalizing and privatizing alcohol sales. When British Columbia expanded sales of alcohol to private retailers, the province saw a rise in alcohol-related costs for emergency services, health care, community services, and law enforcement. Alberta also experienced those costs, along with losing millions of dollars of provincial revenue following privatizing alcohol sales. The move also didn’t lead to lower prices as the province had expected.

On why OPSEU’s anti-privatization campaign has been so well received, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said it’s because Ontarians “are just tired of Premier Wynne’s agenda.

“She’s using alcohol liberalization to distract folks from the other damage she’s doing to the province, and she’s doing it without any due diligence. I think Ontarians are catching on. This is not evidence-based policy she’s implementing. In fact, it’s completely baseless. And worse, it could destroy the socially responsible model we have in place with the LCBO.”

For more information: Anne Makela, 807-626-6444