Discover the latest nation-wide update on beer and wine availability in convenience stores across Canada.

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“Imagine grabbing a six-pack on your way to the cottage for Labour Day weekend – all from your local convenience store. Well, for Ontarians of legal drinking age, this could soon become a reality. Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently announced the Province’s plans to expand alcohol sales, allowing ready-to-drink beverages in grocery stores by August 1, and beer, wine, cider, and more in corner stores by September 5. But how do alcohol sales vary across Canada? Let’s take a closer look.

**Beer-run Basics Across Canada**

In British Columbia, a mix of provincially owned and private liquor stores offer alcohol, with local breweries also selling craft beer. Alberta stands out as the only province selling alcohol exclusively through private retailers, with discussions of potential expansion into grocery and convenience stores sparking industry concerns. Manitoba offers a mix of private and public alcohol sales, with government-run stores dominating in urban areas. Québec follows a unique system of selling liquor and most wines through its provincial liquor board, while convenience stores and supermarkets offer beer, cider, and select wines.

**Why Don’t All Provinces Sell Alcohol at Convenience Stores?**

The history of state liquor control post-prohibition sheds light on the differing approaches to alcohol sales in Canada. While some provinces, like Ontario, maintain strict regulations on alcohol sales, others, like Alberta, have embraced private retailers more openly. Concerns about youth access to alcohol and municipal oversight also play key roles in the ongoing debate surrounding alcohol sales expansion.

**Expansion Concerns**

As Ontario prepares to expand alcohol sales into convenience stores, organizations like the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) express worries about the potential health and societal impacts. CAMH suggests regulations to mitigate harms, while concerns about addiction and social costs loom large. Despite the Ford government’s pledge to invest in public health initiatives, skeptics like Bert Hick of Rising Tide Consultants question whether these efforts are enough to counterbalance the risks posed by increased alcohol accessibility.

In a world where convenience often trumps caution, the debate surrounding alcohol sales expansion reflects a larger societal struggle. Balancing convenience with responsibility, profit with public health, will undoubtedly shape the future of alcohol sales in Ontario and beyond. As Ontarians brace for a new era of alcohol retail, perhaps it’s time to reflect on the true cost of convenience and consider the potential consequences of this bold move.”



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