An Ontario wine club says it's being forced to hand its members' personal information over to Ontario's Liquor Control Board in what it calls a breach of privacy.
Warren Porter, the president of the Toronto-based Vin de Garde wine club, said he's upset the Liquor Control Board of Ontario wants his members' personal information including names, addresses, as well as the size of each order.
Porter said he has complained to Ann Cavoukian, the province's privacy commissioner, because he believes the LCBO is breaching his members' privacy.
LCBO personal information policy
You do not have to provide us with any personal information when you purchase products at one of our Stores (except for ID if you're 25 or under).
You will be required to provide personal information where products are ordered on-line, through our catalogues or through our Specialty Services Department in order to process these transactions.
Vin de Garde is a not-for-profit wine club that orders and delivers wines from various vendors across Ontario, and it has hundreds of members in the Ottawa area.
The seven-year-old organization runs in accordance with the LCBO but it also buys rare wines not sold at the LCBO for its members, which includes groups such as ClubLink and some private clubs.
Since May, Porter said his members have had to reveal more personal information for each order. That has turned one large order into hundreds of separate orders due to the mandatory release of private information.
That is irritating some of his members, especially clubs, he said, and he worries the wine club could soon be put out of business.
"We have to take all of their data — name, address, quantities ordered — all on separate order forms," Porter said, adding it creates a large administrative burden.
"A member of our wine club should be afforded the same level of anonymity that someone walking into an LCBO is."
Policy to prevent illegal resale
LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said the policy requiring the release of personal information has been around for decades.
She could not explain why Vin de Garde was only obligated to follow the policy as of six months ago, but MacGregor did say the information prevents fraud, including illegal resale, and helps the LCBO locate any recalled products.
Even though the LCBO collects the amount of alcohol included in each order, MacGregor said consumption habits are neither tracked nor used for marketing.
That issue is currently under review in the privacy commissioner's office, a spokesperson confirmed to CBC News.