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‘We will never, ever sell the LCBO,’ Doug Ford says amid Ontario protests

Ontario Premier Doug Ford accused the union leader representing LCBO workers of lying about its privatization as members protested outside of MPP’s offices this week.

“We will never, ever sell the LCBO,” Ford told reporters on Wednesday.

“It’s unfortunate their leader is actually misleading, let me more blunt, lying, about us closing the LCBO. We will never ever close the LCBO.”

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LBCO) is a Crown corporation that sells and distributes alcoholic beverages throughout the province.

On Tuesday, workers participated in a province-wide protest demanding the Ford government stop “the sell-off of the LCBO.” Petitions were distributed to the offices of 11 government officials, including the premier’s constituency office in Etobicoke.

The premier announced late last year that up to 8,500 new stores will be allowed to sell alcohol by 2026. This included convenience and big box stores, in addition to grocery stores.

Sales will be restricted to beer, wine, cider, coolers, seltzers and “other low-alcohol ready-to-drink beverages.”

doug ford beer

The Beer Store will still sell beer and will remain a major distributor to retailers, bars and restaurants under a new agreement with the province until at least 2031.

The LCBO, the government previously said, will continue to sell and distribute alcohol with an exclusive right to spirits like vodka, gin and whisky.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is arguing that these changes will impact jobs and send their profits to big box stores instead.

“We’re going to stand together and do whatever it takes to stop Doug Ford from selling off the LCBO and to protect good jobs in every community across Ontario,” OPSEU President JP Hornick said in a statement.

At no point has the government publicly hinted at selling the LCBO or privatizing the industry.

Both the Ford government and the Convenience Industry Council have argued the changes are about giving residents more choices.

“Just as most Ontarians don’t do most of their grocery store shopping at their local convenience store, nor are they going to do most of their alcohol shopping,” Anne Kothawala, President and CEO of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada, told CTV News Toronto.

OPSEU is in the midst of their bargaining negotiations with the province. Ford said that misleading members may hurt the process.