Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation needs better plan for local industry, AG says

Nova Scotia Auditor General Michael Pickup

A new report by Nova Scotia's auditor general says the province's Crown liquor corporation does not have an adequate strategic plan for supporting the province's growing alcohol industry.

Michael Pickup says the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation's planning for the province's industry lacks detail and accountability measures, and oversight is described as "poor."

He says the only performance measure included in the current plan is growth in local product sales through the corporation's retail network, although there are no specific targets for growth.

Pickup also warns that there has been no risk analysis of the corporation's markup rates for local products in order to flag potential risks and unintended consequences, including whether its pricing is in compliance with various trade agreements.

As well, the report assesses the NSLC's compliance program to measure whether employees were following the corporation's proof of age policy, which requires asking for identification from anyone under 30.

Corporate stores registered a 12 per cent fail rate and agency stores failed 19 per cent of the time, while privately-owned business failed to ask 37 per cent of the time and breweries failed to check 63 per cent of the time.