Doug Ford's plan to sell beer in corner stores could cost taxpayers a fortune
Buying beer at your local gas station could end up costing a whole lot more than you might have expected when Ontario announced its plan to sell booze at corner store—but you won't feel the pinch at the cash register.
CBC News reports that The Beer Store isn't thrilled by the prospect of more competitors, especially given the contract they signed with the province in 2015 limiting the number of retail outlets that can sell beer within Ontario.
Should Doug Ford's PC government move forward with its plan to put beer and liquor in convenience stores, as stated in the budget announcement last week, the province could actually be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in legal penalties.
The contract in question, signed by Brewers Retail Inc. (The Beer Store), Labatt, Molson and Sleeman Breweries, as well as the "Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario" (the provincial government), doesn't expire until 2025.
At 195 pages, the contract is huge and it contains many intricate agreements between all parties. What's important for Ontarians to know is that the government's newly-unveiled budget contains plans that would constitute a breach of a key term in that contract—and the penalties as agreed upon are stiff.
An unnamed "beer industry source" told the CBC that Ontario would have to pay out "significantly more than $100 million" in fines, though the number will likely run "into the hundreds of millions of dollars," depending on how much an arbitrator agrees the Beer Store could stand to lose.
Beer in convenience stores is all well and good until it gets our government sued, at which point Ontario citizens will pay handsomely for the privilege in tax dollars.
So much for "buck-a-beer."
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