QUEEN’S PARK - Official Opposition MPPs are calling for workers to be put first as the provincial government moves to phase out the Beer Store’s Master Agreement – a move set to impact thousands of unionized workers.
“With the jobs of thousands of unionized workers on the line, we need to ensure the transition is done in a way that doesn’t leave anyone behind,” said Jamie West (Sudbury), Official Opposition Labour critic. “Beer Store workers are specially trained and manage important recycling and processing services that should continue with their expertise. Based on this government’s track record, how can we trust them to get this right?”
The Beer Store’s Master Framework agreement was created in 2015 and is set to expire at the end of 2025.
“The Premier has a pattern of not listening to anyone except for wealthy insiders when he makes decisions, and workers always seem to be an afterthought,” said Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre), critic for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We’ve seen this happen again and again as he backtracks on important decisions – Beer Store workers deserve transparency and certainty about their future, and a guarantee of good jobs.”
“There will be unique impacts to rural regions and Northern Ontario, where bottle and can returns are centralized through Beer Store services,” said West. “We need to make sure there is a plan in place so Northerners are not left behind again by this government.”
Today’s public announcement, which won’t be effective for more than two years, comes at the end of a chaotic year in which the government reversed many of their major policy announcements; saw the loss of four cabinet ministers; received blistering reports from the Auditor General, Integrity Commissioner and Ombudsman; and find themselves under criminal investigation by the RCMP.