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Job alert - Ontario seeking beer ombud

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

The Beer Store (Postmedia Network files)

The Beer Store (Postmedia Network files)

TORONTO - 

Move over beaver tail inspector.

The Ontario government will create what may be the most Canadian job ever — a beer ombudsman.

The Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets recommends that four independent directors be appointed to the board of The Beer Store, and that these people in turn choose a beer ombudsman.

“The obmdusman will report to the TBS board and will hear complaints from brewers and customers,” the report says.

The Beer Store, currently run by foreign-based owners Labatts, Molson Coors and Sleeman, said in a statement that it has accepted a number of proposed changes to the beer retail sector and will make $100 million worth of capital improvements to its industrial-looking stores.

“Those changes have now been enhanced further, with independent Beer Store Board members electing a beer ombudsman to promote even more fairness and transparency,” the statement said.

Kelsey Ingram, a spokesman for Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, said a number of details about the beer ombudsman’s role are still being worked out but the position will not be a government official or appointee.

“Ed Clark and the council have agreed to remain in place to help the government develop and oversee the exact approach,” she said. “The council will continue to work closely with all stakeholders involved to determine these specifics while balancing a host of considerations, including how to secure good value, best meet demands, ensure fair competition, avoid undue concentration and serve communities across the province while still meeting the principles of social responsibility.”

Ontario’s regular ombudsman, Andre Marin, tweeted last month that it was time for a change: “Ontario’s liquor laws r the most regressive in the world. Seriously. They date from prohibition era. Happy 2 see they are 2 b loosened a bit.”

antonella.artuso@sunmedia.ca


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