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Ford government moves to cancel The Beer Store contract

Premier Doug Ford plans to introduce beer and wine sales at convenience stores in the province

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The Progressive Conservative government has tabled legislation
that would terminate a contract with The Beer Store.

The previous Liberal government signed a 10-year deal with the brewers that permitted an expansion of beer and wine sales to hundreds of grocery stores.

Premier Doug Ford has indicated he plans to put beer and wine in corner stores, but he has to break that agreement to do so and the industry has warned that could trigger steep financial penalties.

While tabling today’s bill, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said the current system is a monopoly that is a bad deal for consumers and businesses.

“The province’s current beer distribution system is owned by three global giants who were handed a sweetheart deal by the previous government, and who are more interested in protecting profits than providing convenience or choice for average people,” Fedeli said.

The Beer Store and its union have been embarking on a public relations campaign to push back against having beer in corner stores, with the brewers taking out an ad saying they keep prices down with their distribution system, and the union taking out ads warning that cancelling the Beer Store’s deal could cost taxpayers a lot.

The United Food and Commercial Workers local representing Beer Store employees said Monday that the government’s decision could cost thousands of jobs.

“We will fight this government and this premier to keep our jobs and to save the taxpayers the billions Ford is willing to pay to put beer in corner stores,” president John Nock said in a statement.

On Friday, the province’s special adviser on alcohol delivered a report to Fedeli on ways to improve consumer choice and convenience.

The legislation comes after the province’s special adviser on alcohol delivered a report Friday to Fedeli on ways to improve consumer choice and convenience.

The Tories also announced a number of loosened alcohol restrictions in last month’s budget, including allowing alcohol to be served at 9 a.m., seven days a week, letting people consume booze in parks, and legalizing tailgating parties near sports events.

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