Premier Doug Ford said he’s hopeful 7-Eleven will be able to expand their operations in the province.
NEW – Asked about 7-Eleven applying for liquor licenses to sell alcohol in its Ontario stores, Premier Ford says "That's going to be up to AGCO but we want to have convenience for the people here in Ontario" He also confirms he met with the 7/11 COO last year.
— Richard Southern (@richard680news) February 18, 2021
Premier Ford has confirmed that he met with the chief operating officer of convenience store chain at 7-Eleven during a trip to Texas in February of 2020. The news comes as the chain has applied for liquor licenses for 61 of its Ontario locations, to serve beer and wine for customers to drink in the stores.
Asked about this, Ford said “ That’s going to be up to AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) but we want to have convenience for the people here in Ontario.” “Our ultimate goal is to have more convenience and choice for the people, if they want to go and pick a 6 pack up somewhere that would be great.”
He adds “I encourage 7-Eleven please come and expand here in Ontario.” He made the comments while touring a construction site in Toronto that will be used to deploy rapid tests for workers.
Opposition leader Andrea Horwath is not a fan of the convenience store chain selling alcohol in the province.
7-11 isn’t a restaurant, regardless what they argue, or what deal they might be cooking up with Doug Ford. They should not be granted liquor licences to allow drinking inside their stores.
It's not fair to struggling local restaurants & bars, and won’t make anyone’s lives better.
— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) February 18, 2021
She says “this should be about our local community restaurants and bars and making sure they’re able to crawl out of what’s happened with COVID-19, not give half of their business or more to a local 7-Eleven.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario Public Service Employees union is reacting to Ford’s decision to allow customers to buy and drink alcohol inside 7-Eleven stores.
Union President Warren Thomas says it’s a dangerous decision because the stores are attached to gas bars.
Thomas says this would be a lose-lose-lose situation for the entire province because it will hit small business and restaurant owners struggling through the pandemic, it could increase drinking and driving incidents, and underage drinking.
He says it will also take alcohol revenues away from public services.
The union chair says she hopes Ford will back away from any promises he may have made during the meeting the 7-Eleven executives.