Q: What is the relationship between the LCBO and the Government of
The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is a $4.892 billion arm’s length
agency of the provincial government with 634 stores across Ontario and 7,998
employees, including part-time workers. The LCBO reports to the Minister of
Finance. The LCBO finances all of its expenditures through its revenues from
product sales. LCBO dividends are remitted annually to the Government of
Ontario's Consolidated Revenue Fund and contribute to Ontario’s ability to
pay for schools, hospitals, roads and important social programs and major
Q: What are the LCBO’s sales and profit figures?
A: Sales in 2012-13 were $4.892 billion and
the LCBO delivered a $1.7 billion dividend to the Ontario government. This did
not include $430 million in HST* and $361 million in excise taxes and import
duties. (When payments to municipalities were included, the total was $2.5
billion. (As of June 2013, these figures were unaudited.)
* The Government of Canada keeps five per cent of HST and sends eight per cent
to the Government of Ontario
* The Government of Canada keeps five per cent
of HST and sends eight per cent to the Government of Ontario
Q: What are the key corporate objectives of
A: Some objectives of LCBO's 2013-16
strategic plan are:
- To continuously improve the customer experience, increasing engagement
- To be a socially responsible retailer recognized by Ontarians for
our actions that support:
Responsible consumption of alcohol
- Product quality and
- Environmental sustainability
involvement and fundraising
- To maximize returns to the people of Ontario by generating a total
of $5.4 billion in net income over the next three years
- To be a great place to work with a culture of engagement and excellence
- To provide ongoing support that grows the sales of local Ontario
products, with a focus on VQA wines, craft beers and micro-distilleries
- To improve operation excellence through continued and improved
collaborative planning with internal and external stakeholders and trade
Q: Is the LCBO the largest purchaser of beverage alcohol in the world?
A: The LCBO is one of the largest single
purchasers of beverage alcohol in the world and one of the largest retailers,
buying wines, spirits and beers from 87 countries around the world for Ontario
consumers and licensees. A total of 17,615 products are available: 3,052 brands
regularly on offer, some 9,000 through VINTAGES, LCBO's fine wines and premium
spirits unit. Last year, 13,602 unique brands were purchased through LCBO's
and Consignment programs.
Q: What is the VINTAGES program and where are VINTAGES products available?
A: VINTAGES is the fine wine and premium
spirits business unit of the LCBO. In 2012-13, VINTAGES released more
than 9,000 products via regular releases and direct offers through programs such
as Classics Collection, Bordeaux Futures, virtual offers and VintagesShopOnline.com.
VINTAGES is also well known as an educator and industry ambassador and hosts
innovative events for collectors and oenophiles throughout the year. Up-to-date
program and event information are available at
Q: What are agency stores?
A: Agency stores operate in established
local retail businesses, in partnership with the LCBO, in communities too small
to support regular LCBO stores. The LCBO has authorized 219 agency stores
throughout Ontario. Selected through a competitive public tender process,
participating established local retail businesses provide beverage alcohol
retail access in a cost-efficient, socially responsible manner to consumers. The
Agency Store Program also brings additional revenue to host communities and
helps support their overall business base.
Q: How many Ontario wineries have their own stores?
A: There are 479 Ontario winery
retail stores located either in wineries or off-site. These are not regulated by
the LCBO, but operate under licence from the
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Q: Do Ontario brewers and distillers sell directly to the public?
A: Yes. Ontario’s three largest breweries
co-own The Beer Store outlets. These outlets are private businesses operated
by owners Labatt, Molson-Coors and Sleeman. The LCBO does not own or operate
The Beer Store outlets.
In addition, there are a number of brewery stores
and a few on-site distillery stores in Ontario. These are private stores
licensed and regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Please see Related Sites for links to
Ontario distilleries and breweries.
Q: Do government agencies or diplomats get discounts from the LCBO?
A: No. No government agency or employee (from any level) receives a discount on LCBO product. Neither do LCBO employees.
Embassies, consular posts and international organizations can purchase from the LCBO at a discount, provided they follow proper ordering procedures, which are carefully monitored. Ontario and other provinces are required to permit such discounted sales under federal legislation and international agreements that have been in place for decades.
Individual diplomats pay the same retail price as other consumers when purchasing from the LCBO.
Changes to embassy sales pricing were made in June 2013 to improve systems controls, sales reporting and monitoring of embassy sales. The new discount of 49 per cent replaces a more complicated formula which created an effective discount rate on embassy sales of 46.3 per cent. While overall prices to embassies will be slightly lower, prices they pay for some products will go up.
Q: What are the costs of the LCBO’s
recent collective agreement?
A: On average each day, LCBO
sales are almost $14 million. In May 2013, the LCBO and its 6,700 unionized
employees reached a four-year collective agreement averting the possibility
of a strike at LCBO stores and warehouses. The cost of the agreement in the
current year is $4.2 million. The total net cost of the new agreement over
the four-year term is $20.16 million. Like other operating costs, these are
paid by the LCBO out of its revenues.
The dividend to the province, forecast to be
$1,740 million for 2013-14, is unaffected.
Q: How can consumers find out if a local LCBO store carries a certain product?
A: Consumers can contact the helloLCBO
contact centre at
hellolcbo.com or call toll-free at
1-800-668-5226 or 416-365-5900 in Toronto. The TTY number for the deaf and hard of
hearing is 1-800-361-3291 or 416 864-6898 in Toronto.
Q: I sampled a wonderful bottle of Burgundy wine
while I was in France. The LCBO doesn’t carry it, so how can I get it?
Ordering program can order case lots from anywhere in the world as long
as the supplier will ship it to the LCBO. Please phone 1-800-668-5144, or in
Toronto, 416 864-6739.
Q: Does the LCBO regulate bars and restaurants?
No. Establishments licensed under the Liquor Licence Act are regulated by
the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The AGCO can be
contacted at 1-800-522-2876 toll-free in Ontario and 416 326-8700 in
Toronto, by fax at 416 326-5555 and by e-mail at
email@example.com. The AGCO website is
Q: Does the LCBO recycle?
A: Consumers pay a deposit on
containers at the LCBO, agency stores and wine and distillery retail stores,
and receive a refund when returning them to The Beer Store. The deposit is
10 cents and 20 cents depending on the size of the container.
The Bag it Back program is helping to
divert significantly more glass and other beverage alcohol containers from
landfill sites and results in more glass being recycled into higher-end
uses, including new glass bottles, fibreglass and polar fleece.
The program has been a great success with a
return rate of 80 per cent in 2012-13, amounting to more than 523,000 tonnes
of glass (as much as 76,000 truck loads), as well as cans, plastic and other
containers. It is also freeing up space in the Blue Box program, giving
municipal governments an opportunity to expand recycling programs.
The LCBO has also been a significant supporter
of the municipal Blue Box program, with more than $50 million in
contributions in recent years.
In addition, the LCBO has become a recognized
leader in the promotion and sale of lightweight packaging for beverage
alcohol, including Tetra Pak cartons, PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
plastic bottles, aluminum cans and, increasingly, lightweight glass.
In 2008, the LCBO phased out plastic bags in all
its stores in an effort to reduce reliance on disposable shopping bags and
encourage customers to opt for reusable alternatives. This initiative has
eliminated 80 million plastic bags. Customers can now purchase a variety of
reusable bags or they can bring their own. Customers can also opt for free
paper bags made up of 40 per cent recycled content and recyclable through
the Ontario Blue Box program.
Reusable bags are available in LCBO stores and a
portion of sales of reusable bags, together with proceeds from other
fundraising efforts, go to the LCBO Natural Heritage Fund, which supports
community-based projects to preserve or restore wildlife habitat.
Suppliers are encouraged to minimize packaging
and LCBO recycles corrugated cardboard, fine paper, newspapers, plastic
wrap, batteries, printer cartridges, data tapes and other materials, as well
as working to reduce the use of energy in LCBO facilities to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.
To learn more about LCBO’s environmental
sustainability initiatives, visit
Q: What is the LCBO Natural Heritage Fund (NHF)?
A: The LCBO Natural Heritage Fund raises
money for wildlife habitat restoration and rehabilitation throughout
Ontario. Projects have included:
- restoration of native Ontario Atlantic salmon to
Lake Ontario and its tributaries with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and
- high complexity burn in the oak savanna
communities with the Grand River Conservation Foundation
- The Friends of the Algonquin Park’s “The Science
Behind Algonquin's Animals" website, an interactive learning tool that explores
the role of science and technology in both cultural and wildlife research in
Algonquin Provincial Park
- volunteers restoring Tallgrass Prairie on the Rice
Lake Plains through the Nature Conservancy of Canada
Funds raised through a portion of sales of
reusable bags, together with proceeds from in-store tastings and
contributions from LCBO suppliers, go to the LCBO Natural Heritage Fund,
which supports community-based projects to preserve or restore wildlife
habitat. To date, the NHF has generated over $2 million in funding.
Q: Is the LCBO involved in
social responsibility programs related to responsible use of alcohol?
As one of Ontario’s largest beverage alcohol retailers, LCBO has a
longstanding tradition of selling responsibly and also encouraging customers
to serve and consume beverage alcohol products in moderation. Ontarians
expect LCBO to sell beverage alcohol in a responsible manner, to prevent
sales to minors and intoxicated adults and promote responsible consumption.
LCBO social responsibility programs include:
- Advertising campaigns such as Deflate the Elephant, which encourage
Ontarians to speak up to help prevent friends and guests from drinking and
driving by providing online responsible hosting scenarios, the interactive
Home Bartending Challenge, tips, tools and resources at
- Staff training to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors and to persons
who are intoxicated, e.g.
Challenge & Refusal:
It’s not Personal. It’s the Law. program
- Information campaigns aimed at teenagers, such as Safe Prom, which
includes posters, teachers’ educational materials and tips for parents and
teens at www.lcbo.com/prom
- LCBO’s longstanding partnership with MADD Canada, which includes
fundraising in LCBO stores to support the production and delivery of MADD
Canada’s School Assembly Program. This program will be shown to 900 Ontario schools and over half a million students across the
province at no cost whatsoever to the schools. Other social responsibility
initiatives include television campaigns and the joint
development of Talk to Your Kids about Alcohol website aimed at
parents of preteens at:
- Offering responsible hosting tools such as Responsible
Hosting Tips and alcohol-free
Mocktail recipes for all guests to
- • Programs in partnership with other organizations, including the
annual Drive Safe campaign in association with the Ontario Association
of Chiefs of Police and alcohol and pregnancy awareness in partnership
with Best Start
- Please also see: Related
Q: How does the LCBO assist charities with
A: The LCBO is required by the Liquor
Control Act to transfer net profits to the province of Ontario. These
revenues help pay for Ontario roads, schools, hospitals and other important
social programs and services.
While it may not make cash donations or sponsor
events, LCBO and its employees are committed to assisting charitable
organizations. In 2012, LCBO raised a total of $6.6 million for various
charities through special programs and initiatives driven by customers,
employees and the LCBO’s province-wide donation box program. This included
$6.1 million for various provincial and numerous local charities through
in-store fundraising. Of this, $2.84 million was for the United Way
Centraide. Charitable organizations interested in the LCBO’s fundraising
programs can learn more about the program and application process by
Q: Where can I find information about
LCBO offers a variety of tips, tools and resources to help hosts plan safe
get-togethers. We encourage you to visit
to participate in an interactive Home Bartending Challenge and download tips
and checklists. This website offers responsible hosting tips, myths and facts
about alcohol, responsibilities as host, risks and safety information, as
well as delicious alcohol-free Mocktail recipes for all guests to enjoy. It
also offers links to other useful websites, including MADD Canada’s Being Sued can Ruin a Good Party.
Q: I brought home a bottle of wine and it did not taste right: What should I do?
A: Customers can return any products to the LCBO without a
receipt if they believe the product is defective. Please note: receipts are required if you are returning resaleable, unopened
Q: What safeguards are in place to protect an individual’s privacy when using an AIR MILES® Rewards card?
A: Information collected through AIR MILES® Rewards is held by LoyaltyOne
Inc., which passes on to the LCBO information on buying patterns. LCBO does not receive information on
individuals. For more information, please see: AIR MILES® Reward Program.
Q: Has the LCBO won any awards?
A: Since 2000, LCBO has received more
than 200 awards for customer service, staff training and development, store
design, marketing, innovative retailing, corporate communications and social
These include 13 Retail Council of Canada
Excellence in Retailing Awards, including Innovative Retailer of the
Year, Socially Responsible Retailer of the Year, Retail Technology Award and
Retail Store Design (Large Retailer category).
Members of LCBO’s Senior Team have also been
commended for outstanding contributions in their respective fields.
Bill Kennedy, Executive Director, Corporate
Communications, received MADD Canada's Citizen of Distinction Award in
September 2010 for championing LCBO's efforts to promote responsible
drinking, help prevent drinking and driving and raise funds for MADD Canada.
Drinks Ontario, the association representing
imported wine, spirits and beer agents, has recognized several members of
LCBO management with its Industry Partnership Award for their efforts in
enhancing the profile of imported beverage alcohol products in the Ontario
marketplace. Recipients include: *Tom Wilson, Vice President, VINTAGES
(2010); *Bob Downey, Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing (2009); Dr.
George Soleas, Senior Vice President, Logistics/Quality Assurance (2008);
Greg Dunlop, Category Manager, European (2007); Shari Mogk-Edwards, then Vice
President, Merchandising (2006).
In 2009, The Niagara Wine Festival named *Bob
RBC Financial Group‘s Business Citizen of the Year.
In 2007, Nancy Cardinal, Vice President, LCBO
Marketing and Customer Insights, earned the Top Integrated Marketer Award
from Strategy Magazine. Hugh Kelly, LCBO Senior Vice President, LCBO
Information Technology, was named Chief Information Officer of the Year
through the Canadian Information Productivity Awards. Also in 2007, *Andy
Brandt, former LCBO Chair and CEO, was inducted into the Marketing Hall of
*Denotes staff members who have since
retired from LCBO
Recent awards include:
- LCBO’s Broadcast Production Group received a bronze Telly Award in
the online video/webisode category for its portrayal of Niagara
winemaker Norm Hardie. Since there is no gold Telly offered in this
category, the group actually scored a second-place standing.
- LCBO’s Sales & Marketing Division won a design award for an
interactive micro-site from Applied Arts, Canada’s visual
communications magazine. The site was developed to help men host a
successful get-together during a thematic highlighting a premium spirits
- LCBO’s Sales & Marketing Division received two bronze medals for its
2011 Whisky Rocks campaign from the Canadian Marketing
- LCBO’s Supply Chain won the Technology Award at the Retail Council
of Canada’s 2012 Excellence in Retailing celebrations for its deployment
of QLogitek’s systems to schedule warehouse appointments and automate
- Jody Dunn, manager/editor of FOOD & DRINK magazine, earned a Gold
Award in the Media and Publishing category in 2012 from the Ontario
Hostelry Institute in recognition of the magazine’s contribution to the
- LCBO’s Sales & Marketing Division earned two bronze awards in the
Retail Category for its goLOCAL campaign which promoted Ontario wines
and its Cocktail thematic. The 2011 awards were presented by the
Canadian Marketing Association.
- LCBO’s Broadcast Production Group earned a
silver (first place) Telly Award for its LCBO Safety video and a bronze
(second place) Telly Award for Challenge & Refusal: It’s Not Personal,
It’s the Law in 2011. Both videos were in the “Film and Video” category.
The Telly Awards honour the very best local, regional and cable
television programs as well as the finest video and film productions.
- LCBO’s flagship store in Oakville was recognized for its “thoughtful
design with cutting edge features” by the Retail Council of Canada in
the Retail Store Design, Large Retailer category. The LCBO tied with
Staples Canada for the award in 2011.
- LCBO’s Contact Centre (now called helloLCBO) was among the top three finalists for Best
Contact Centre in the Americas under 50 agents in ContactCentreWorld.com’s annual global competition in 2011.
ContactCentreWorld.com is a global association of contact centre
industry professionals and executives.
- LCBO’s Deflate the Elephant campaign earned a Public Safety
Award from the Ontario Safety League in 2011. The award recognizes
outstanding contributions that bring to light major safety issues.
- LCBO’s Sales & Marketing Division earned a bronze award in the
Retail Category for its goLOCAL campaign which promoted Ontario wines.
The 2010 award was presented by the Canadian Marketing Association.
- LCBO Store Development & Real Estate won
a Gold Maple Leaf award from the International Council of Shopping Centres for
LCBO's 321 Cornwall Dr. store in Oakville. The 2010 award was
in the Retail Store Design category for store areas in excess of 10,001
- LCBO’s Broadcast Production Group earned a
bronze Telly Award for TV spots created for an Ontario Wine goLOCAL
promotion in 2010. The international award was in the “Regional TV
Commercials – Alcoholic Beverages/Beer” category. The Telly Awards
honour the very best local, regional and cable television programs as
well as the finest video and film productions.
- LCBO Store Design & Real Estate won a
Silver Maple Leaf award from the International Council of Shopping Centres for its 1838 Avenue Rd. store in Toronto. The 2009 award was in
the Retail Store Design category for store areas in excess of 10,001
- LCBO Store Design & Real Estate earned a grand prize in the
Specialty Food Retail category from the Association for Retail
Environments in 2009.
- The 2009 Red Wine 101 promotion, created to help demystify red wine buying for LCBO customers, received
gold and silver awards from the Canadian Marketing Association.
- LCBO’s Prom Tips campaign poster, created
to remind high school graduates that alcohol doesn’t belong at their
celebrations, was a winner in the Registered Graphic Designers of
Ontario Design@Work Competition in 2008.
- The 2008 Wine 101 promotion,
created to help demystify wine buying for LCBO customers, was
honoured by the Canadian Marketing Association with a bronze award in
the Retailing category.
- LCBO Store Design & Real Estate placed
first in the Specialty Food Shop Category, an award presented by the
Institute of Store Planners and Visual Merchandising & Store Design
Magazine in 2008.
- LCBO was named “Integrated Marketer of
the Year” by Strategy Magazine in 2008.
Q: Has the LCBO conducted customer surveys?
A: Large-scale customer satisfaction
surveys show that 80 per cent of our customers rate their overall shopping
experience as an eight or higher on a 10-point scale.
A customer Tracking Study is conducted annually
and based on in-depth interviews with 2,500 people across Ontario who say
they are the primary LCBO customer in their households. In 2012-13, 81 per
cent of customers said they find it easy to move around LCBO stores; 74 per
cent said the LCBO offers a wide selection of products; and 74 per cent
found the staff to be friendly and outgoing.
Q: The LCBO has a reputation for having a
good quality assurance program. How do you test the alcoholic beverages to
be sold in Ontario?
A: In the interests of consumer
protection, LCBO Quality Assurance conducts more than 500,000 laboratory
tests on more than 23,000 different beverage alcohol products and performs
sensory evaluations on more than 7,400 products each year. This ensures
products purchased and sold by the LCBO are safe for consumption, good
quality, authentic and compliant with federal and provincial standards for
composition, labelling and packaging.
The Quality Assurance department is
internationally recognized. Since 2000, the department has been registered
to ISO 9001 and the laboratory has been further accredited with ISO/IEC 17025
certification, a standard specific to testing laboratories. (These are
accreditations from the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO), a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130
countries, based in Geneva, Switzerland.)
Please note: All data as reported in the LCBO
Annual Report for fiscal 2012-2013.