www.freeourbeer.ca petition unveiled at Queen's Park today is believed to be the largest
in Ontario history
QUEEN'S PARK, ON, July 25, 2012 /CNW/ - The tiny hamlet of Vanessa,
Ontario (Population 80) and Joanne McMurchy's convenience store is
ground zero for an outpouring of public support that has led to the
largest single petition collected in Ontario. The petition calls on
the Ontario Legislature to broaden Ontario's current alcohol retailing
system to include convenience stores.
McMurchy, a former health care worker and teacher, and proprietor of the
Vanessa General Store has constantly heard customers ask when they
would get what most other Canadians enjoy - something as simple as
picking up a bottle of wine or some beer at their local convenience
store. So she started a petition. Today that petition, which swelled
to 112,500 names collected from 220 communities across the province,
was unveiled at Queen's Park.
The top 20 cities that contributed to the petition included:
"The alcohol retailing system in Ontario was designed in 1927 - 85 years
ago - and hasn't fundamentally changed. But Ontarians are now speaking
loud and clear: It's time we moved the discussion forward on
modernizing alcohol retailing in Ontario to include convenience
stores," said Dave Bryans, CEO, Ontario Convenience Stores Association
(OCSA). "The people who have signed this petition are New Democrats,
Liberals and 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 consumers."
The petition, which was collected over the course of four weeks in late
2011, 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 and view the full list of cities
that took part at www.freeourbeer.ca.
"Customers kept saying it would be nice to be able to buy beer or wine
at our store. I decided to draw up a petition and before I knew it,
pages and pages kept filling up with names of neighbours, friends, and
customers who all wanted this simple convenience. People were stopping
at the store just to sign the petition!," said, Joanne McMurchy, Owner,
Vanessa General Store - the location where the petition began. "Our
store is one of the central places in our community and people come
here to buy everything from food to hardware, yet they have to drive 20
minutes to get a bottle of wine for dinner. They keep telling me it's
time for change."
Ontario Convenience Store Association members are responsible community
retailers. We sell more age restricted products than any other
retailer, and do a better job of checking for age than any other
Last May the OCSA unveiled an independent, third-party mystery shopping
study that showed convenience stores were the best at age checks --
better at denying sales of age-restricted products to minors than the
foreign-owned Beer Store and the government-run LCBO.
In August, 2011, OCSA also released an Ipsos Reid study that revealed
that two-thirds of Ontarians who shop at the foreign-owned Beer Store
and government-run LCBO want the convenience of alcohol retailing at
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents convenience
stores throughout the province that are committed to Responsible
Community Retailing. The OCSA membership comprises nearly 7,500 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. More than 3 million people visit convenience stores in
communities across Ontario every day.
SOURCE: Ontario Convenience Stores Association
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