Are convenience stores across the province ready to sell beer and wine? Well, according to a recent press release, they just might be.
According to the Ontario Ministries of the Attorney General and Health and Long-Term Care, convenience stores are successful at denying underage people products like tobacco, lottery tickets, alcohol and vaping products.
As a result, as noted in the release, it is expected that they will bring the same diligence to the expansion of beers and wine sales.
Convenience stores are the primary retailer of tobacco products. Ontario convenience stores help increase economic growth. They sell 75 per cent of all OLG lottery tickets, which is worth $2.55 billion each year. In rural and northern communities, convenience stores operate as LCBO Agency Stores and sell alcohol at over 200 locations. The convenience store industry represents $13 billion in sales annually in Ontario and employs over 69,000 people.
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In 2018, around 19,700 mystery shopping checks were conducted by public health units in support of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Convenience stores were successful in denying 96.2 per cent of sales to those under 19.
Regulators check convenience stores more thoroughly than other retailers. Though, other retailers do not demonstrate a comparable success rate of age verification than convenience stores.
“Convenience stores are responsible community retailers – committed to the highest standards in Ontario,” Dave Bryans, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA), said in a statement.
“The OCSA is very pleased with these latest results and will always stand behind strict enforcement of responsible retailing practices, especially when it comes to age-verification. We will bring the same level of responsibility when selling beer and wine as we do selling other age-restricted products.”
All Ontario convenience stores abide by the Retailer Code of Conduct which ensures all legal and social obligations are met to keep age-restricted products out of the hands of minors.
According to the association, by following this conduct, it shows the community that convenience stores are responsible businesses that are serious about age-verification.
Graphic is courtesy of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association.