Dr. Mackie Concerned Over Alcohol Sale Expansion

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An Ontario government decision to test out LCBO kiosks in grocery stores is raising concerns at the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

The pilot will see ten small LCBO stores opened in grocery stores across the province. Ontario has put out a request for proposals to grocery stores that may be interested in hosting a kiosk.

At its Thursday night meeting, the Board of Health will receive a letter from the chief medical officer of health recommending it send a letter to Ontario’s Minister of Finance to support the stance of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The association, which sent its own letter to Minister Charles Sousa,  says it should have been consulted before the pilot moved forward.

Dr. Chris Mackie is also supporting a letter from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health that suggests Ontario move cautiously ahead with plans to sell VQA wines in farmers’ markets. CAMH says it would prefer wine be sold through the LCBO, but says if the pilot moves forward health and safety concerns should be paramount.

Dr. Mackie says he doesn’t consider alcohol a regular commodity because of the harm it can cause to society if abused. He says he’s concerned that health problems related to alcohol consumption will go up as it becomes more available.

CAMH says although the sale of wine, beer and spirits generate revenue for the province, alcohol-related costs in health care, law enforcement, premature mortality and lost productivity cost the province $500-million more than it makes off sales.

Dr. Mackie says while Ontario made a “good decision” to keep alcohol out of convenience stores, the continued expansion of sales is more concerning.