Ontario to get toughest ID check system in Canada

    -   Anyone under 25 will have their driver's license swiped before buying
        age-restricted products.

    -   Convenience store industry urges province to play a bigger role in
        keeping age-restricted products from youth.

    TORONTO, March 7 /CNW/ - The Ontario Convenience Store Association (OCSA)
today unveiled what is the toughest system of ID checks for age restricted
products in the country. The 'We Expect ID' program is a rigorous age
verification system to prevent youth from getting access to restricted
products sold through convenience stores, including: alcohol, tobacco, movies,
adult-themed magazines, lottery tickets, fireworks and other combustibles.
    "'We Expect ID' has been under development by the convenience store
industry for over two years and takes a zero-tolerance approach to keeping
restricted products away from youth," said Dave Bryans, President of the OCSA.
"With this system, anyone that appears under the age of 25 who intends to
purchase a restricted product must present their driver's license and have it
swiped as proof of age."
    In each and every case, store employees must swipe customers' licenses
through the lottery terminal. The terminal reads the age information from the
magnetic stripe on the back of each license and presents the person's age
prominently on the terminal's display. The small minority of OCSA members
without terminals must, in every case, visually verify age from the consumer's
    After a pilot project of 60 convenience stores around the Greater Toronto
Area, the program is now being rolled out to 2,500 stores across the province.
That number will eventually include all 7,000 of the OCSA's members. Inquiries
have already been made from other provinces on exporting this system across
the country.
    "Convenience stores are part of every community in Ontario and we have an
obligation to conduct business in a responsible way," added Bryans. "But we
also think the provincial government has a bigger role to play in helping keep
these products out of the hands of youth and we're asking Queen's Park to step
up and join our effort."
    As part of this program, every convenience store worker will eventually
undergo a training and certification program to ensure they understand their
duty, obligations, how the system works and penalties for failing to abide by
its stringent rules. Failing to adhere to the 'We Expect ID' rules and selling
age restricted products to minors can also bring heavy criminal and financial
    OCSA has a zero-tolerance policy on breaches of the program that includes
expulsion from the industry association, recommendations to the OLG to remove
the privilege of selling lottery products or calling on the province to revoke
that store's license to sell tobacco.

    Lottery training also proposed

    The OCSA's 'We Expect ID' program is a part of the convenience store
industry's 'Responsible Community Retailing' initiative. Because of serious
concerns retailers have with preventing youth from accessing lottery tickets,
this initiative also includes a proposal for a training and certification
program for retailers selling lottery products.
    'Lottery Retailer Certification' would enhance consumer protection by
ensuring all workers have a clear understanding of how to properly handle the
sale and redemption of lottery tickets. OCSA has proposed this initiative to
the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation (OLG) and continues to lobby the crown
corporation to recognize and support 'Lottery Retailer Certification' as an
important way to further enhance consumer confidence.

    About OCSA

    The Ontario Convenience Stores Association and the Ontario Korean
Businessman's Association represent more than 7,000 convenience store
operators throughout the province. The 'We Expect ID' and 'Lottery Retailer
Certification' programs are part of the industry's commitment to Responsible
Community Retailing. More than 1.2 million people visit convenience stores in
communities across Ontario every day.

    Please Note:
    'We Expect ID' will be officially launched and demonstrated at the
    Canadian national convenience store show.

    Where: Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Road
    When: March 7, 2007
    Time: Noon onward

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: John Perenack,
perenack@room-40.com, (416) 948-8722

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