Earlier today, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 115, which provides the Government with the ability to break out of the sweetheart deal enjoyed by the foreign brewers that own The Beer Store.
This is an important step forward. With Bill 115 now having received legislative approval, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) anticipates that the Government will continue to negotiate with the brewers. However, the Government is now empowered – at any time – to enact Bill 115, protecting Ontarians from the ramifications of ending the current bad deal with The Beer Store.
The existing deal works poorly for Ontarians. It prevents price competition, keeping prices artificially high, and it restricts choice and convenience, by constraining new liquor licenses for convenience, grocery, and big box stores, and by limiting the sale of larger beer formats, like 12-packs and 24-packs.
In addition, the Ontario Government announced today that, pending the outcome of renegotiation with The Beer Store, it will do what it can immediately to open-up the market. That means adding some previously unissued grocery licenses and it means more agency stores selling LCBO products in Northern Ontario.
RCC sees both the Government’s announcements as strong indicators that the Ontario Government will be moving forward on many of the positive recommendations contained within Ken Hughes’ report The Case for Change.
“With the passing of Bill 115, the Ontario Government is now in a strong position to protect Ontario taxpayers while negotiating a better deal with The Beer Store,” says Karl Littler, Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs with the Retail Council of Canada. “This is an important next step, as the Government moves to fulfill its commitment to increase consumer choice and convenience on alcohol,” said Littler.
About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $375 billion in 2018. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org