Beer Store white paper dispels myths about the deregulation of alcohol
TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - The Beer Store on Monday released a
report outlining how deregulated alcohol sales in Ontario would drive
up prices, harm communities and lead to hundreds of millions of dollars
in lost tax revenue.
Beer Store President Ted Moroz said allowing convenience stores and gas
stations to stock beer, wine and liquor would increase the risk of sale
to minors, shrink selection and mean the end of the successful Beer
Store bottle-return program.
"Prices will go up. Make no mistake. Beer, wine and liquor will be more
expensive in Ontario," Moroz said. "Our study shows that's what
happened in Alberta and British Columbia, while also showing that
Ontario currently has among the lowest beer prices in Canada and a
better beer selection than other provinces with deregulated systems."
"The convenience store lobby is blatantly ignoring the facts when they
tell Ontarians otherwise."
The report used Statistics Canada data, liquor board reports and
numerous previous studies to examine deregulation experiences in
Alberta and British Columbia and found that prices paid by consumers
rose sharply. Meanwhile, the report found that private retail systems
in deregulated Canadian provinces and several U.S. states make it much
easier for underage consumers to buy alcohol.
Greg Flanagan, an economist who studied the Alberta deregulation of
retail alcohol sales, conducted an independent review of The Beer
Store's findings. He said the current system delivers the advantages of
competition that benefit consumers, government and alcohol producers
without any of the harms associated with a deregulated system.
"Retail deregulation does not deliver lower consumer prices, nor does it
lead to higher government tax revenues," said Flanagan. "I am confident
that prices will rise or government revenue will fall, or a likely
combination of the two will occur if thousands of corner stores and gas
stations across Ontario are allowed to put alcoholic beverages on the
Consumers' Association of Canada President Bruce Cran said Ontario's
Beer Store model is a win for consumers. "This exhaustive research
paper shows that consumers will lose should corner stores and gas
stations sell beer," said Cran. "I've seen firsthand how the promised
benefits of competition failed to materialize in B.C. The profit
margins required by convenience stores will mean consumers will pay
Key survey findings include:
Ontario has some of the lowest pre-tax beer prices in Canada, better
selection and delivers more provincial tax revenue than a deregulated
system would. These price and government revenue advantages will be
lost if Ontario's system is deregulated.
Corner stores and gas stations in Ontario are more than ten times more
likely to sell cigarettes to minors than the Beer Store is to sell beer
to minors. In a survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health, 1.2% of underage Ontario students surveyed said they were able
to purchase beer, while 15.6% indicated they were able to purchase
cigarettes at corner stores or gas stations.
There would be no benefit to offset the risks of deregulation. Not on
price, or selection. Ontario's Beer Stores stock up to 330 brands; in
Alberta, where sale of beer was deregulated, the selection is less than
half that number.
Deregulated beer sales would mean the end of the Beer Store's award
winning recycling program. This program diverts approximately 450,000
tonnes of recyclable materials - half the annual volume of the Blue Box
program - and saves taxpayers $40 million in recycling costs annually.
To get the facts about beer sales in Ontario, please visit www.ontariobeerfacts.ca.
SOURCE: The Beer Store
For further information:
To arrange interviews with Mr. Moroz, Mr. Flanagan or Mr. Cran, or to obtain further information and receive a copy of the report, please contact:
Bruce Cran, President
Consumers' Association of Canada