In December 2015, the Ontario government announced its initial rollout of grocery stores that are allowed to sell beer in the province. Currently, there are 60 grocery stores authorized to sell beer in Ontario and that number is expected to eventually increase to 450.
As one would expect, the highest density of beer-selling grocery stores is in the Greater Toronto Area. However, residents throughout most semi-urban cities in Ontario should be able to find a grocery store near them. This new alcohol acquiring situation pleases many throughout the province, whether it’s someone picking up suds in Sudbury or beer delivery Hamilton.
Of course, this arrangement makes beer drinkers happy, but did the Ontario government properly consider the health risks of having beer available in grocery stores?
Despite its often devastating effects on personal lives and societies at large, alcohol is a regular part of most cultures, and Ontario is certainly no exception. But, let’s remember what alcohol actually is – a drug.
Of course, people who enjoy alcohol are happy to see it more accessible, but that is selfish and short-sighted. The problem is having beer stores in grocery stores makes it more accessible to EVERYONE, including those who abuse it and minors.
Think about someone who struggles with addiction who may purposely avoid being near beer or liquor stores to avoid temptation. Now, they could be at their local grocery store buying some kale to try and live a healthy life, but a few rows over they see stacks and stacks of beer and are more likely to give in to their addiction. This could send them into a tailspin!
Grocery stores definitely also make it more accessible for minors to get alcohol, despite ID checks. One of the main ways minors obtain alcohol is by getting someone of age to buy it for them, and the more places there are to buy, the more people there are for minors to ask. It is also a lot easier for them with a grocery store because it doesn’t look as suspicious when they are around it, unlike a beer or liquor store.
There’s no point in going into great detail about the health consequences of alcohol. You can read all about how alcohol increases the risk for disease, causes death, etc. on any reputable health website, such as Health Canada.
The point here is, as usual, the government seems to be most focused on economics without really considering the whole picture. Beer drinkers are happy and Ontario is making more money, but at what cost?