Ontario's online sales, booze-by-mail plan: How will it work?

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario is now selling alcohol on its website, complete with to-your-door delivery via Canada Post. Here's how it will work.

No, delivery is not free and yes, you might be carded by your local postal worker

In Ontario, you can now buy alcohol online and have it delivered to your door. But there's a $50 minimum and you might get carded by a postal worker. (LCBO)

Ontario now offers online alcohol sales, complete with an e-commerce website and home delivery via Canada Post. 

Yesterday Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the launch of online sales and home delivery through LCBO.com.

Customers can now buy nearly 5,000 products online and have them delivered to their home or local LCBO location. 

Sousa said online alcohol sales will boost convenience for customers and help Ontario's smaller wineries, breweries and cider producers reach a wider market.

But how, exactly, will online sales and delivery work?

Here are the basics:

Can I buy one beer?

No. There is a $50 minimum purchase.

So ... is home delivery free?

No. It's $12 per order, plus tax. Sending your order to a local LCBO store for pickup is free though.

How long will it take for my potent potables to arrive?

The LCBO's website says online orders for home delivery will be made within two to three days. Online orders will be available for pickup at any LCBO store within four to 12 days.

So ... will I get carded by my letter carrier?

You might. The LCBO says Canada Post workers will ask for ID at the door if it appears a customer may be under 19. If there's no of-age adult to accept delivery, they will return the order to a postal centre for customer pickup. The LCBO website says Canada post "has a successful track record of handling and delivering products responsibly from wineries and for other liquor boards."

Speaking on Metro Morning today, Sousa said Canada Post "already do deliver sensitive material through the post and they'll follow those protocols and they've been trained to do so." Sousa said he believes postal workers are being trained "with LCBO assistance" on how to identify underage customers.

Can I buy booze that isn't in the LCBO stores?

Yes. The LCBO website is now listing about 5,000 local, Canadian and international wines, beers, ciders and spirits. But up to 16,000 different products will be offered by 2017.

​How much will this add to the LCBO's bottom line?

On Metro Morning, Sousa said he estimates annual online sales will be in the $15 to $20 million range. LCBO already delivers about $1.9 billion in annual revenue to Ontario's bottom line.

Why is the government widening access to a dangerous product?

Sousa said the LCBO has a good track record in delivering its product safely, and said this will continue with online sales.