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Ford, Bethlenfalvy to speak as LCBO strike enters 6th day



Ford, Bethlenfalvy to speak as LCBO strike enters 6th day

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy are scheduled to hold a press conference this morning as a strike impacting thousands of LCBO employees enters its sixth day.

Ford and Bethlenfalvy will speak at 10 a.m. in Toronto. The press conference’s topic is unclear.

No talks are expected between the LCBO and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) after the workers walked off the job on Friday, July 5. At an LCBO distribution centre in Mississauga, several dozen workers on the picket line delayed delivery trucks entering the warehouse on Tuesday.

The Crown corporation intended to open five distribution centres this week to help distribute booze to restaurants, bars, hotels, convention centres, and other licensees across the province. The LCBO now says that will not happen due to picketing at the locations, but it will offer online ordering for smaller orders.

The press conference slated for this morning comes a day after the finance minister penned a letter to Carmine Nigro, President and CEO of CRAFT Development Corporation, directing that the LCBO promote more Ontario-made products once availability expands to convenience and more grocery stores.

An LCBO store is shown in this undated image. Photo: Flickr.

In May, the Ford government announced that beer, wine, and ready-to-drink cocktails would be sold at Ontario convenience stores starting in August. By the end of October, fully licensed convenience stores, supermarkets, and gas stations will be able to sell beer, wine, and ready-to-drink cocktails well ahead of the previously slated date of early 2026.

The union believes Ford’s plan to open up the alcohol sales market poses an existential threat to the LCBO that will lead to major job losses. It does not want ready-to-drink cocktails sold outside LCBO stores, wants the province to guarantee its jobs, as well as wage increases, and wants more permanent rather than part-time positions.

Bethlenfalvy has said the government is “more committed than ever” to its alcohol expansion plans, which aim to give Ontarians more choice and convenience.

With files from Liam Casey of The Canadian Press

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