(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / AlphaBaby)

New Ontario booze rules could grow economy & add jobs

A new report from The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) said the new alcohol laws in Ontario will be good for the economy, create more jobs, and offer cheaper beer.

The RCC said the Ontario government’s move to increase choice and convenience for alcohol will increase overall retail sales and benefit the economy.

“Increased choice = Increased GDP,” said the RCC.

The report shows expanding the sale of beer and wine to more retail stores in Ontario would create more than 9,000 new jobs and add $3.5 billion to Ontario’s GDP. The RCC said Ontario ranks last in Canada with only 2.4 alcohol outlets per 10,000 persons, which is well below the national average of 5.9. Council data showed that moving to the national average of licensed retail outlets would increase the number of locations by 4,028, which would potentially increase Ontario’s GDP by $3.5 billion a year.

The RCC also questions claims by The Beer Store that there will be job losses from increasing choice and convenience, and that beer will increase in price.

“The Retail Council of Canada finds that neither of those claims by The Beer Store hold merit,” said the RCC.

The Beer Store has stated that opening the market would mean job loss of 7,000 full and part-time staff currently employed at The Beer Store.

“Allowing other market participants would add competition to The Beer Store, but is very unlikely to cause the company to shutter its doors,” The RCC added.

The Retail Council said the move to Canada’s average per capita store count would see a net increase of 13,134 jobs.

The RCC suggests that increased choice and convenience can also mean savings for consumers, as large grocers negotiate with suppliers to compete for business. The agency said the prices of popular beers (without tax) are an average of 8.3% more expensive in Ontario than in Quebec.

The RCC analyzed the opening of the British Columbian alcohol market and found that liquor licensing a grocery store increases sales by an estimated $880,000.