www.freeourbeer.ca petition unveiled in Toronto is the largest in Ontario history
TORONTO, April 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Amid a "fear mongering"i ad blitz launched by The Beer Store to protect its near-monopoly on
beer sales in Ontario, The Ontario Convenience Stores Association
unveiled an unprecedented show of public support for modernizing
Ontario's outdated alcohol retailing laws with a 403,412 name petition
signed by Ontarians from communities across the province. It is the
largest single signed petition ever collected in Ontario and the
second-largest in Canada. The petition calls on the Ontario
Legislature to broaden Ontario's current alcohol retailing system to
include convenience stores, in particular to allow competition with the
foreign-owned Beer Store.
"The over 400,000 Ontarians that signed this petition were consistent in
one thing - it's time the foreign-owned Beer Store had a little
home-grown competition. Ontario's alcohol retailing system was
designed during prohibition in 1927 - 87 years ago - and people are
ready for change," said Dave Bryans, CEO, Ontario Convenience Stores
Association (OCSA). "The people who have signed this petition are New
Democrats, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. They're parents,
neighbours and responsible adults who want the same simple convenience
that their friends and relatives outside Ontario enjoy. Convenience
stores are already responsibly offering alcohol in over 200 communities
and it's time to add on to the existing system with more options for
The petition, which was collected over the course of six weeks in 2013,
is the latest evidence of the widespread support for modernizing
Ontario's alcohol retailing system to include convenience stores.
People can still sign the petition at www.freeourbeer.ca.
OCSA members have also pledged support for Ontario craft brewers and
Ontario wineries in a modernized retailing system. Retailers previously
announced a plan to voluntarily set aside at least 30% of beer and wine
retail space for Ontario wines and craft beer, creating significantly
more consumer exposure and retailing opportunities than they currently
have - especially in the communities where they operate.
"Not only does our plan dedicate 30% of space to Ontario craft beer and
wines, it also allows Ontario craft brewers and Ontario wineries access
to a modern, established distribution and logistics system to get their
products into stores," added Bryans. "Our distribution partners have
the ability to cost-effectively ship even a single bottle of wine or
six-pack of beer to individual stores. Gone are the days when stores
needed to buy in large quantities and manufacturers needed to own
fleets of trucks for distribution."
In December 2013, OCSA released an Ipsos Reid study that revealed that
nearly seven-in-ten (69%) people in Ontario want to see private
retailers, like convenience stores, sell alcohol and compete with the
foreign-owned Beer Store.
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents convenience
stores throughout the province that are committed to Responsible
Community Retailing. The OCSA membership comprises nearly 7,000 of the
11,000 convenience stores in Ontario. The convenience store industry
represents $13 billion in sales annually in Ontario and employs over
69,000 people. Convenience stores are also the largest partner of the
Ontario government for the OLG, selling 75% of all lottery tickets in
the province and returning billions in tax and gaming revenues to
public coffers. More than 3 million people visit convenience stores in
communities across Ontario every day.
i Globe and Mail, April 16, 2014, "Beer Store takes to fear mongering in
fight against expanding alcohol sales"
SOURCE: Ontario Convenience Stores Association
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