By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Hamilton’s board of health agreed with a public health recommendation to oppose any expansion of alcohol sales into convenience stores.
Councillors approved the staff report without comment at their Sept. 16 meeting.
In its report, public health officials say alcohol is the “drug most commonly used by adults and youth and has been identified as a high priority issue …”
Public health staff says if alcohol is allowed into convenience or grocery stores, it will prevent the government from reducing excessive drinking within the population. Alcohol already causes 60 types of diseases and injuries, states the report. The report also mentions the 2010 death of Christopher Skinner of Flamborough from alcohol poisoning. An inquest recommended the continuation of preventative health promotion against underage drinking.
“Alcohol should not be sold in Ontario’s convenience stores,” states the report.
Recently, a Mac Convenience Store Inc. vice-president told aTorontoaudience his company will build 27 new modern stores across the province and create 170 new jobs within two years if alcohol is allowed into convenience stores.
In June, the Ontario Convenience Association released a 25-page study suggesting a hybrid alcohol-retail system similar to the one operating in British Columbia would benefit everyone, including consumers by lowering prices. Alcohol is sold in both privately-owned and government-owned stores in the province.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has a near monopoly in alcohol sales and turned over $1.65 billion to the province last year. The Crown Corporation plans to add more retail stores and is preparing to set up express outlets in grocery stores.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in June her government is not considering any proposal to sell alcohol in convenience stores. Her announcement came after Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he wouldn’t rule out allowing stores to sell alcohol.