LCBO's alcohol mail delivery called 'short-sighted' by MADD

Ontario’s new booze-by-mail program is being sharply criticized and called “short-sighted” by head of MADD Canada’s legal department.

'If you make alcohol more widely available … alcohol related problems increase'

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's new booze-by-mail program is being sharply criticized and called "short-sighted" by head of MADD Canada's legal department.

Ontario consumers will be able to buy alcohol through a new online ordering service that will bring products from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to their doorsteps through Canada Post, Ontario's finance minister announced last week.

"Why would we do this? The alcohol industry makes all the money and you, because you're a kind and generous person, pick up all the costs," Robert Solomon, national director of legal policy for MADD Canada, asked. "Yes, revenue flows through the front door in terms of taxes but far more money flows out the back door through police costs, court costs and hospital costs."

Shipping to LCBO stores will be free, with a minimum order of $50, while home delivery will come through Canada Post for a fee of $12 per order plus tax.

"The government has got to make up its mind. It wants to pretend to care about alcohol-related crashes, deaths and injuries and alcohol related problems. But on the other hand it's dramatically increasing the availability of alcohol," Solomon said. "If you make alcohol more widely available, day and night, through more outlets … alcohol related problems increase."

Alcohol 'not benign'

Solomon said alcohol "is not a product like any other product."

"What percentage of hospital admission is orange juice related? Alcohol is not a benign product," he said.

Robert Solomon, of MADD Canada, says making alcohol more widely available increases risk. (MADD)

Solomon said with alcohol being more widely available, it increases the odds of social problems and death.

"Alcohol kills kids," he said.

He said MADD statistics show people aged 15-25 years account for 13 per cent of population but 33 per cent of fatalities in alcohol-related crashes.

"We ought not to further expand the availability of alcohol," he said. "We should regulate drugs, including alcohol, in a manner consistent with the risks they impose.

"This continued expansion of alcohol is going to come at a cost."

Solomon claimed alcohol-related problems increase policing, medical and mental health costs.

In Essex County, the OPP reported a 37 per cent increase in the number of impaired drivers in Essex County compared to 2015, through July July 27. The OPP said the rate is "unacceptable."

Solomon said the province should make alcohol less available and increase the cost.

Making 'every life easier'

In fiscal 2015-16, LCBO reported $5.57 billion in sales and delivered its 22nd consecutive record dividend to the province of $1.935 billion, excluding taxes.

When Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa made the announcement, he said LCBO online sales will help "make every life easier."

"The launch of the online ordering is directly connected the government's priority to grow the economy, all the while the LCBO dividends continue to fund key government services like health care and education," Sousa said. "Online ordering also supports our government's work to increase convenience and choice for consumers and to make every life easier."

With files from the Canadian Press