MADD Canada

April 10, 2015 08:30 ET

Alcohol Sales in Grocery Stores Should Only Be Considered If Under LCBO Control, Says MADD Canada

OAKVILLE, ON--(Marketwired - April 10, 2015) - As the Province of Ontario considers allowing the sale of some alcohol products in select grocery stores, MADD Canada is warning Premier Kathleen Wynne that the safest and most socially-responsible way to do so is under the auspices of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

"Selling alcohol in grocery stores without the oversight of the LCBO amounts to privatization of alcohol sales, and that carries a whole host of serious public health and safety risks," said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie.

International and Canadian research has consistently shown that privatized systems typically result in increased access to alcohol (e.g. more locations, longer hours of sale, etc.) which leads to increased alcohol consumption and increased alcohol-related problems in society.

Alcohol is linked with more than 65 medical conditions and is a contributing factor in injuries, impairments and deaths caused by illness, impaired driving, homicides, suicides, assaults, fires and other adverse events that threaten public safety and community well-being. The costs of those alcohol-related harms, including lost productivity, health care costs, and law enforcement costs, run into billions of dollars every year. 

"Governments have a responsibility to control and regulate alcohol sales in a way that protects the public as much as possible from alcohol-related harms," Mr. Murie said. "The most effective way to do this is through liquor control boards, rather than individual, privatized retailers."

Provincial liquor boards regulate access to alcohol through outlet locations, limits on hours of operation, minimum pricing, and taxes. Further, provincial liquor boards have intrinsic controls, comprehensive staff training programs and extensive social responsibility programs to protect the public and educate about the dangers of alcohol misuse.

MADD Canada recognizes that Ontario and other provinces are under increasing pressure to expand their alcohol sales systems. However, any changes being considered must appropriately balance governments' economic needs and consumer needs with health and public safety interests.

MADD Canada does not oppose alcohol sales in grocery stores provided two key conditions are met:

  • The grocery store models must operate under LCBO control and have the same standards and regulations as LCBO outlets. These stores would have the same regulations, the same limits on hours of sale, the same training measures for staff and the same social responsibility practices aimed to preventing sales to minors and to intoxicated patrons.
  • The locations would operate as a store-within-a-store; they would be entirely separate from the grocery products.

"The concern is not about the location of the sales, the concern is who is actually doing the selling," said Mr. Murie said. "Provided these outlets are run by LCBO and staffed by trained LCBO personnel, with their established commitment and attention to responsible alcohol sales and social responsibility practices, then we do not believe there would be significant risks."

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:

    Andrew Murie
    MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer
    1-800-665-6233, ext. 224