President's Blog - BC’s public liquor stores are a key part of modernization

March 31, 2015

Welcome and long overdue changes are coming to BC Liquor stores this week. These are changes our union has lobbied government to implement.

On Good Friday, about 120 of BC’s public liquor stores will be open on a statutory holiday for the first time. Other changes are being introduced this week: shopping hours have been extended, 138 stores will be open on Sundays and eventually many more public stores will be offering cold products. 

This is an important modernization of the BC Liquor store system in keeping with modern, responsible attitudes around drinking.

Public liquor stores should remain central to this ongoing modernization. They have a long tradition of better pricing and selection. Our members have a well earned reputation for knowing their products, advising customers and for social responsibility around the retailing of beer, wine and liquor.

The public distribution and retailing of alcohol also produces important public revenue, the majority of which is generated in the public stores. At the same time, BC Liquor stores provide good jobs all across our province. This modernization is an important part of protecting our members’ jobs.

The Liquor Distribution Branch is also introducing a new wholesale pricing model this week. Prices are likely to remain the same, but there is still uncertainty around the new pricing system.

Our union will be paying close attention to the new pricing system as it rolls out. This new pricing system must allow our public liquor stores to remain competitive. At the same time, the pricing system should also ensure that public liquor store jobs remain stable and secure. In this difficult economy, these jobs need to be protected.

This holiday weekend I hope you will be able to enjoy some time with friends and family. If you have a drink, drink responsibly and shop at a public BC Liquor store. Where people shop does make a difference.

Stephanie Smith – BCGEU president