Taxpayer funded resources used to set up website to attack Beer Store workers

Campbellville, Ont.  – May 24, 2019 – UFCW Local 12R24 President John Nock has sent a letter to the Auditor General and Ombudsman of Ontario asking them to investigate the activities of the provincial government in working together with the convenience store industry to lobby for expanded alcohol sales.

The letter is in response to an article in the Toronto Star on May 22, 2019, that revealed a Treasury Board employee set up a website using government resources that supported the efforts of the Retail Council of Canada and the Ontario Convenience Stores Association to sell alcohol in Ontario corner stores. The website also openly attacks The Beer Store and its employees.

In addition, the article reveals through Freedom of Information documents that there was a
long-running partnership between the government and corner store lobbyists to loosen alcohol retail rules, including the use of private emails to cover up their tracks.

"This lobbying campaign is particularly troubling since the Ontario government is assisting private-sector interests with taxpayer resources to achieve policy goals that would directly threaten the livelihood and jobs of 7,000 of our members who work at The Beer Store,” wrote President Nock.

“We believe that Ontario government websites – and all government communications – should contain only information that is truly independently verified and supported, as well as refrain from directly attacking thousands of workers and their families. We are respectfully requesting a full investigation by the Auditor General and the Ombudsman of Ontario to get to the bottom of this matter and determine if government policies and/or laws were broken relating to the appropriate use of public resources, with the results to be made public.”