Save The Beer Store

UFCW Local 12R24 members need your support in the face of an Ontario government plan to undermine the good union jobs of more than 7,000 members working at The Beer Store.

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Premier Doug Ford wants to dismantle Ontario’s current alcohol retail system by shifting sales away from The Beer Store and into convenience, big box, and other outlets. These changes could lead to major job losses and higher beer prices for consumers, in addition to reduced product selection. They would also threaten one of the world’s most successful recycling programs, weaken responsible alcohol retailing, and potentially cost Ontario taxpayers millions of dollars, while undercutting The Beer Store’s charity work.

The government’s plan puts good, unionized jobs at The Beer Store and the families and communities they support at risk and will not create good jobs to replace them. The statistics show that when beer was added to Ontario grocery stores it did not create extra jobs or more beer sales in the province.

The government’s plan could also mean higher beer prices for consumers. Alberta privatized its alcohol retail system in the 1990s and now has some of the highest beer prices in Canada. In fact, a 24-pack of beer from a private liquor store in Alberta can cost over $10 more than the same brand at The Beer Store.

As well, moving beer sales away from The Beer Store and into convenience and big box stores would hurt consumer choice by reducing product selection. Whereas corner stores and big box retailers tend to sell a limited range of the most popular beer brands, The Beer Store offers 826 different beers to customers and more than 460 Ontario craft brands.

The government’s alcohol plan would also put one of the world’s most successful recycling programs at risk. Over the last five years, Beer Store employees have recovered more than 9.1 billion beer bottles, cans, and other recyclable materials, for an average of 1.8 billion containers recovered per annum. This has resulted in 94 percent of all Beer Store sales being returned or recycled and has produced massive energy savings for the province – both clear examples of the new green economy at work.

What’s more, diverting beer sales away from The Beer Store – a proven leader in responsible alcohol retailing that operates on a not-for-profit basis – could make it easier for minors and intoxicated customers to purchase alcohol by allowing inexperienced, for-profit retailers to sell beer. While The Beer Store challenged 1.6 million customers and refused service to more than 18,000 Ontarians in 2021, for-profit corner stores and big box retailers have an incentive to increase alcohol sales and lack a demonstrated history of responsible alcohol retailing in Ontario.

Additionally, the government’s proposal to change how beer is sold in this province could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars because the Government of Ontario reached an agreement in 2015 on the number and type of outlets that can sell beer in Ontario. Experts agree that if the Ford government were to abandon its responsibilities under this agreement, the province could be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties.

Finally, killing good union jobs at The Beer Store would needlessly undermine one of the most charitable businesses in Ontario. This past year, The Beer Store and its employees raised over $5.4 million for charities and community organizations across the province, including local hospitals and food banks.

The evidence is clear: expanding beer sales to convenience, big box, and other retail outlets would result in major job losses, higher beer prices for consumers, and reduced product selection. It would end a vital recycling system, lead to irresponsible alcohol sales, and produce massive costs for Ontario taxpayers. Doug Ford’s reckless, job-killing plan for beer sales would also undercut one of the most charitable businesses in the province. Sign our petition to say “NO!” to Premier Ford’s beer plan.