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Letter from OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas to Premier Ford and Minister Fedeli re: LCBO thefts

Publication Date

Friday, January 4, 2019 - 4:15pm

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent the following letter on Jan. 4 to Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli calling for an urgent meeting over the growing problem of thefts in LCBO stores.

January 4, 2019

The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1

The Honourable Victor Fedeli, Minister of Finance
Ministry of Finance
Frost Building South, 7th Floor
7 Queen's Park Cres.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7

Dear Premier Ford and Minister Fedeli:

Premier, I am extremely concerned about the growing problem of theft in LCBO stores. According to Toronto police, more than 9,000 shoplifting incidents have been reported over the past four-and-a-half years and the LCBO has confirmed that shop theft is increasing.  Immediate action is required.

I, along with Division leadership want to meet with you, Minister Fedeli and the LCBO senior management as soon as possible to discuss the concerns our members have about these thefts. OPSEU represents 8,500 front line LCBO workers who have many excellent ideas to share about how we can combat this problem.

Although police and the LCBO have routinely advised workers not to intervene with thieves as they may be armed, the lives of LCBO staff and customers are at risk. Nobody should go to work or walk into a store wondering if they might be hurt or even killed over a bottle of vodka. I have no doubt that risk will increase if your government follows through with its plans to further expand sales of alcohol to private retailers.

Ontario’s public LCBO stores offer more convenience than ever, with additional locations, a greater variety of products and longer hours. But we have to balance convenience with control – which is what the “C” in LCBO stands for. If theft is a problem in LCBO stores that have highly trained and experienced staff, then what would happen in corner stores? Action must be taken before someone is hurt or killed.

I look forward to your speedy reply.

Sincerely yours,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

c: George Soleas, President and CEO of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario
Denise Davis, Chair, OPSEU Liquor Board Employees Division
Debbie McGuinness, LBED Local 5110 President, LBED Provincial Health & Safety Committee