CANADA: Ontario rejects plan to privatise LCBO
The Canadian province of Ontario has rejected the findings of a review panel that recommended it sell its Liquor Control Board and open up the spirits and beer market to private enterprise.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has a monopoly on distribution of alcoholic drinks in the province but a government appointed review panel has urged the province to auction off individual alcohol retail licences, including the assets of the board's 598 stores and 196 agency outlets.
The review panel said that Ontario's alcohol system hadn't been modernised since the times of prohibition and needed updating.
But Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said the government would not be selling the LCBO and would not allow beer or wine to be sold at corner stores.
He said: "I want to make it very clear, the government of Ontario will not be selling the LCBO."
The report's authors claim the government could make more money from selling off the licences than it currently makes in sales of alcohol.
"Monopolies lock up economic value, and uncompetitive markets hold back innovation and value creation, leaving untapped revenue on the table," it concluded.
However, the province's government has rejected those claims, saying the plan will not work.
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