Union Claims Doug Ford is lying to Ontario about LCBO privatization

After Premier Doug Ford’s misleading comments yesterday about his government’s ongoing privatization of the LCBO, OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick is standing with LCBO workers to set the record straight.

“Tuesday’s LCBO Day of Action was organized by LCBO workers who are first-hand witnesses to the sell-off of the LCBO, piece by piece, every day,” said Hornick. “LCBO members know exactly how the Ford government is selling off the work of the LCBO to private warehouses, offsite companies, and shifting alcohol sales from the LCBO to private retailers. That’s why 7,000 LCBO workers signed the petition that we delivered to Doug Ford.”

Premier Ford’s denial that their government intends to privatize the LCBO was directly contradicted by what the LCBO brought to the table on their first day of bargaining yesterday with the OPSEU/SEFPO Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED).

“The LCBO wants to remove the parts of our contract that stop them from closing LCBO stores, laying off permanent employees, and contracting out our work,” said Colleen MacLeod, LBED Bargaining Team Chair. “They also want to remove all caps on the number of grocery stores that sell alcohol. Doug Ford has a lot of nerve saying our jobs are “secure” when his government tells the LCBO to bring that to the bargaining table.”

These are some of the ways the Ford government continues to privatize the LCBO:

  • Privatizing liquor retail sales: When the LCBO sells alcohol, the profit – $2.5 billion every year – gets invested in public services like health care and education. When big box grocery stores are allowed to sell alcohol, the profit from those sales go into the pockets of their corporate CEOs.
  • Privatizing online order fulfillment: LCBO staff used to fill online orders, pack them, and ship them to stores or homes. This is now contracted out to a private facility that costs more.
  • Privatizing LCBO warehouses: There are now multiple third-party warehouses where product is stored, unloaded, and shipped to other locations. In Fall 2023, the LCBO took 1.2 million cases of new release Vintages from the LCBO’s Durham warehouse and stored them in a private warehouse instead. Also, the distribution of all winter holiday gifting products is now handled by private warehouses instead of LCBO warehouses and staff.
  • Privatizing specialty orders: When a customer wants a product not normally carried by the LCBO, they can special-order it. But that service is no longer done by LCBO workers – it’s been contracted out.
  • Print Shop privatization: Printing services for the LCBO used to be done in-house at Head Office by LCBO staff, but the Print Shop was sold off and the work contracted out.
  • Data Centre privatization: All data from LCBO operations used to be backed up by the LCBO’s Data Centre at Head Office. That has been contracted out and is now done offsite.

“It’s pretty clear that Doug Ford can’t be trusted to tell the truth about LCBO privatization,” said Hornick. “This is the same government that was trying to sell off the Greenbelt to make their developer buddies even richer. And now they’re trying to help big box grocery store CEOs get even richer from alcohol sales instead of protecting public services and good jobs in our communities.” 

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