Ford's 'scrap the cap' plan a profit-grab for big box grocers

TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2023 /CNW/ – OPSEU/SEFPO says the Ford government’s plan to scrap the cap on the number of big box grocers who sell alcohol will have spillover consequences for the entire alcohol retail and distribution system in Ontario, with millions of dollars in public revenues at the LCBO threatened. 

“The government’s plan will impact the LCBO; it will mean cuts, layoffs, and store closures as the private market takes over, undercuts the public model, and eventually raises prices – and profits,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “The end goal is clear: turn valuable public revenues into private profits. Period.”

Ford’s plan to scrap the Master Framework Agreement (MFA) would hand an even larger market share of profits over to the same grocery corporations notorious for exploiting Ontarians during the pandemic to boost their profits.

Currently, the LCBO generates $2.5 billion annually in revenues that go directly back into the public coffers to pay for hospital services, schools, and other vital public services. The union says today’s announced plan threatens the future of the LCBO, as it opens the floodgate to big box grocers and gas stations to sell beer, wine, cider and pre-mixed, “ready to drink” cocktails.

LCBO workers, whose collective agreement expires March 31, 2024, are heading into bargaining in the New Year. Among their key demands: provisions to protect Ontario’s most lucrative public asset.

Doug Ford’s intentions for Ontario’s $10 billion alcohol retail and distribution system can’t be trusted,” said Colleen MacLeod, Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED). “Scrapping the MFA will mean fewer public revenues and decent jobs, and more minimum wage, contract gigs with no access to a pension or benefits. This will hit hard especially in Northern and rural communities.

“We’re in a cost-of-living crisis – the workers deserve better, Ontarians deserve better, not the grocery tycoons or 7-Elevens,” added MacLeod.

OPSEU/SEFPO – the union representing LCBO workers – says its members have already begun organizing in their workplaces and communities to fight back against Ford’s privatization plans and to protect the crown jewel institution and its public revenues for generations to come.

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO)

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