Union says Changes to Alcohol Laws are Irresponsible

A move to deregulate alcohol in Ontario has left LCBO workers with a bit of a hangover after budget day.

That's according to OPSEU Local 192 President Jennifer Van Zetten. Doug Ford Ontario PC's announced plans to double down on its deregulation of alcohol sales and consumption.

Select big-box stores have already been selling beer and wine, but the government will expand that number and will bring convenience stores into the mix. The new rules will also allow municipalities to have the final say on where alcohol can be consumed. That could allow drinking in public parks and parking-lots to tailgate for sporting events.

Van Zetten tells AM800 News the Tories uses Quebec's private system to demonstrate how well the move could work, leaving out all the health and safety issues that province is facing that can be traced back to irresponsible alcohol sales and accessibility.

"When I see young people, 14 years old, overdosing or having issues in Quebec buying in a convenience store, you're not seeing that in Ontario," she says. "We take pride in social responsibility, it's not just about underage [drinkers], it's about the accessibility, it's about the community and making it safe. Now you're allowing us to go into a park with our children or our grandchildren and we're going to be able to drink. What was the need for that?"

She doesn't see what's to gain by opening up public spaces to alcohol.

"So you're going to tailgate at a football game or a baseball game, but then you're going to get behind the wheel and drive home. Who's going to be socially responsible for those people drinking in those parking lots," says Van Zetten. "He [Doug Ford] didn't answer those questions."

Plans are also in place to allow municipalities to give restaurants and bars permission to serve alcohol as early as 9am.