Retail Beer Deal Hurts Restaurant Owners

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TORONTO — Restaurants Canada officials have asked the Competition Bureau to launch an official investigation into the non-compete deal between the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and the Beer Store, which was revealed by the Toronto Star.

The 10-page document, crafted in 2000, protects the retail monopoly of beer sales among the LCBO and Beer Store and leads to higher beer prices for food and beverage operators, reports the Star. “We have known of the existence of an agreement for years, but we did not know the depth of the complicity. This agreement fixes prices, territories and products,” said James Rilett, Ontario VP, Restaurants Canada.

In the past, the Competition Bureau was not willing to investigate the issue, but Restaurants Canada believes the deal must be investigated. “Ontarians need a neutral third party to look into this secretive agreement,” says Rilett.

Restaurants Canada is also calling on the government to immediately cancel this non-compete agreement, which can be terminated with six months’ notice.

The full document, detailing the agreement, can be found at thestar.com.

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