Saskatchewan

Sask. liquor authority crunching numbers on severance payouts

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority says it's calculating severance costs in case a major review of liquor retailing results in store closures.

Store closures could follow liquor retailing changes, government says

There are 75 government-owned liquor stores in Saskatchewan, but some or all of them could be privatized depending on the results of a review. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority says it's calculating severance costs in case a major review of liquor retailing results in store closures.

The provincial government owns 75 liquor stores, but is considering a variety of options — everything from the status quo to an Alberta-style privatization of all its retail outlets.

It's expected to make a decision in the fall.

According to a recent report from the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, the liquor and gaming authority (SLGA) says it's considering a "range of potential actions" and has done a financial analysis using spreadsheets.

It appears at least one of the potential actions could result in some SLGA employees losing their jobs.

"Several of the worksheets analyse potential severance costs should SLGA close stores and have to enter into settlement negotiations with staff," the authority said in a submission to the information commissioner.

Liquor retailing options became a matter for the information commissioner after someone filed a freedom of information request on the documents.

The liquor and gaming authority refused the applicant's request, arguing that "having estimated severance costs made public at this time would interfere with SLGA's ability to negotiate with those individuals (and/or their agents for collective bargaining) who may be severed as a result of potential store closures in the future."

Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski decided that most of the spreadsheets should be released to the undisclosed applicant, but a smaller number could be withheld.

Kruzeniski added that despite what the liquor authority said, there was no specific information about severance costs in the spreadsheets.

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