The Ford government introduced legislation today that, if passed, will break the Master Framework Agreement with The Beer Store.
The agreement, intended to last for 10 years, states that the province would ensure that beer is not authorized for sale or distribution in Ontario except for by The Beer Store, the LCBO, stores operated by either, breweries, or duty-free stores.
If the agreement is breached, the document states that a remedy would be required, an option of which is payment of a monetary award by the breaching party.
“Such an award shall be calculated on the basis of the normal principles of damages for breach of contract,” the document reads. And the damages of beer being sold in the countless convenience stores across the province would, imaginably, be quite costly.
Of the outlets listed in the document’s allowed new private retail outlets, convenience stores are not mentioned. Which means that the sale of beer in corner stores would fall under a “critical breach” of the agreement, potentially requiring financial compensation.
In response to this decision, The Beer Store is pursuing its legal options.
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“The government cannot extinguish our right to damages as outlined in the Master Framework Agreement,” The Beer Store President, Ted Moroz, said in a statement.
He went on to say that it is critical to understand that The Beer Store has, in good faith, and based on the legally-negotiated, 10-year operating agreement with the Province of Ontario, invested more than $100 million in order to modernize its stores and to continue to upgrade the overall consumer experience.
“We have today sent a legal letter to the government and will fight this legislation vigorously through the courts and we remain committed to protecting the 7,000 Ontarians who work at The Beer Store and rely on these jobs to support their families,” Moroz said.
John Nock, yhe President of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 12R24, which represents Beer Store employees, also pledges to combat the legislation.
““Doug Ford promised no one would lose their jobs as a result of his policies,” Nock said in a statement.
“And now he’s cancelling contracts, creating chaos and kicking good jobs to the curb. We will fight this government and this Premier to keep our jobs and to save the taxpayers the billions Ford is willing to pay to put beer in corner stores,” he said.
This development comes less than a week after The Beer Store employee union demanded an investigation into the new convenience store beer website, created by the Ontario Government in partnership with the Retail Council of Canada and The Ontario Convenience Stores Association.