Opinion polls show Ontarians want greater convenience when buying beer
TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Ontario's convenience stores are calling for a
serious discussion about easing Ontario's liquor laws so responsible
adults can enjoy a beer with less bureaucracy. On the heels of the
McGuinty government's announcement they'll review relaxing liquor laws
for festivals and tailgate parties, convenience store operators are
calling for the government to look more broadly and examine the sale of
beer and wine in convenience stores.
"We know buying things like beer and wine at convenience stores is
something that Ontarians want," said Dave Bryans, President of the
Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA). "In 2010, pollster Angus
Reid asked Ontarians this exact question and 63% immediately supported
the idea. And that's before our industry even has had a chance to make
our case or educate people about our excellent record of selling
Canadians outside Ontario are well-acquainted with the convenience that
accompanies more realistic liquor control laws. In particular, Quebec
and Newfoundland have long histories of convenience store retailers
responsibly selling beer and other alcohol for decades.
"Tourism Minister Michael Chan said recently that he has "a great deal
of confidence in the LCBO", but if that's the case, the provincial
government should be supremely confident in the abilities of the
convenience store industry to responsibly sell alcohol," said Bryans.
"Not only do we have a better age check system than these outlets, our
record in testing for age is better."
Convenience stores have an exceptional age testing program, We Expect
ID, and have conducted over 100 million age checks in Ontario since
2008. Unlike any other retailer selling age restricted products, We
Expect ID allows retail workers to swipe the driver's licence of anyone
who appears under 25 to read their age information that's magnetically
encoded in the card. This means when used the system eliminates the
chance of error in checking for age. The track record of convenience
stores is backed up by Health Canada, whose testing of convenience
stores demonstrates an excellent track record when it comes to checking
for age - better than the LCBO or Beer Store.
"Beer and wine in convenience stores is something Ontarians want,
convenience stores have shown they can sell alcohol responsibly, and
we're already doing it in over 200 communities in Ontario," added
Bryans. "If the provincial government really wanted to liberalize
Ontario's liquor laws to cut responsible adults a little slack from the
bureaucracy, they should be looking at how they can actually make it
more convenient for people to buy beer for the weekend or that bottle
of wine for dinner."
SOURCE Ontario Convenience Stores Association
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