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The union representing LCBO employees says thefts are a growing problem across the province and Ottawa is no exception.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents more than 7000 employees of the LCBO, says it's members are instructed not to intervene when they witness a theft.

"Theft of products at LCBO outlets has been a problem for some time and of great concern to the staff who work in the stores," said Jennifer Van Zetten, OPSEU's liquor board employees division chair.

"Theft is a growing problem in Ottawa, as it is in the rest of the province." 

Customers in Ottawa tell CTV they aren't surprised. Reid Wiggins says sees a robbery at the LCBO nearly every time he visits.

"Grab a bottle, say oh this is mine, look at you, and walk at the door," said Wiggins.

"Because there's a sense of no consequences."

Wiggins says because employees are instructed not to intervene, it makes the shop an easy target.

"I will tell them and they just don't care," said Wiggins.

"They're losing a lot of money and it's damaging their brand."

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for the LCBO says it's their policy that staff do not attempt confront shoplifters:

As is industry standard, it is our policy that staff do not confront suspected shoplifters. Physically confronting shoplifters puts employees and our customers at risk."

The LCBO also says it has strengthened preventative measures for theft.

"In order to ensure staff and customer safety, the LCBO has strengthened its Shop Theft Action Plan. It expands on three existing main priorities:

  • Increasing security personnel at select locations;
  • Implementation of new and industry-leading technology to combat theft
  • Ongoing mandatory training for employees in order to take safe actions and be credible witnesses when a theft occurs. This training focuses on personal safety, observation, and gathering information that helps lead to Police arrests.

"Our members have been instructed not to intervene with thieves, but being in close proximity with criminals is a safety issue" said Van Zetten.

"LCBO management and OPSEU members have formed a health and safety subcommittee that is looking into staffing issues and safety."

Earlier this year, Almonte, ON. security company, 3 Sixty Risk Solution Ltd. was awarded the contract to work as security for LCBO locations across the province.