LCBO stores set to close, limit sales in Ontario in event of strike

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Published June 27, 2024 at 4:50 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo
The LCBO has cancelled a controversial pilot program - Photo courtesy of the LCBO

If LCBO workers go on strike next month, shoppers can expect store closures, followed by significantly reduced shopping hours at a limited number of locations. 

That said, the retailer will continue to fulfill wholesale orders, so alcoholic beverages will remain available in restaurants and bars, as well as winery, brewery, and distillery outlets. Shoppers will also be able to buy alcohol in select LCBO locations (with reduced hours) and licensed grocery stores. 

Shoppers will also be able to order online. 

Today, the LCBO announced that collective bargaining is currently underway between the company and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, with the union in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 5.

LCBO workers are seeking wage increases and more full-time jobs, saying part-time roles have become 70 per cent of their workforce. Last week, the union said 97 per cent of participating LCBO workers voted in favour of a strike.

OPSEU President J.P. Hornick says they are fearful of job losses after Premier Doug Ford’s government announced plans to open up the alcohol market to allow convenience stores and all grocery stores to sell beer, wine and ready-to-drink cocktails.

The union delivered a notice to bargain in January ahead of the March 31 expiration of its collective agreement with the LCBO.

In a June 27 news release, the LCBO said it must be ready for any potential strike action and has plans in place to serve customers should a strike commence. 

“During an OPSEU strike, the LCBO would continue to operate our online retail services and offer limited in-store shopping,” the company said in a statement, adding that products will remain available at its 2,300 private retail and convenience outlets, as well as its specialty and duty-free services. 

Should a strike occur, all LCBO retail locations will close for 14 days. On July 19, 30 LCBO retail stores will begin to open for in-store shopping and operate three days a week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) with limited hours in effect. Customers will still be able to place orders on the LCBO’s website. That said, the company says the strike will force it to “institute reasonable caps on products in-store and online.” 

“While LCBO would ensure continued customer service, it would not be business as usual. We thank our customers in advance for their patience and understanding over the coming weeks,” the company said. 

– With files from The Canadian Press

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