The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is a publicly-owned corporation that retails and distributes alcohol in Ontario. The LCBO has more than 650 retail stores across the province and offers nearly 24,000 products from more than 80 countries to consumers and licensed establishments. The LCBO is an important source of revenue for Ontarians, but it is under threat from creeping privatization as the Liberal government encourages grocery stores across the province to expand into beer and wine sales.
Provides billions annually to Ontarians
The LCBO generates $2.4 billion in revenue each year including $1.9 billion in profits and more than $450 million in taxes. This money helps fund important public services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure improvements. Revenue from LCBO sales in one year is enough to repair 13,300 km of roads across the province. Revenue from January and February alone is enough to cover the cost of a year of home care for more than 113,000 seniors.
Private liquor sales lead to higher prices
When Alberta privatized liquor sales in 1993, prices for most products rose. But at the same time, despite what the government had promised, the percentage of revenue going to the government declined to the lowest levels in Western Canada. As well, the variety of products available in private outlets fell far short of the wide selection available at the LCBO.
Reducing social harm
LCBO takes its responsibility to prevent minors or intoxicated persons from purchasing alcohol very seriously. Last year, 414,600 people were refused service at LCBO locations across the province. In contrast, private companies often lack these compliance measures or find them difficult to enforce. For instance, in 2008, 77.5 per cent of public stores in B.C. requested the mandatory two pieces of age identification compared to only 35.9 per cent of private liquor stores.
High quality service
The LCBO employs 9,300 full-time and casual employees across the province. Whether it be helping you find the perfect wine pairing or the latest local craft beer to sample, LCBO staff provide high quality, professional service. The LCBO reports an 87.5 per cent satisfaction rating by LCBO customers of overall shopping experience.