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Ontarians have mixed reactions to new alcohol accessibility at convenience and big box stores

(Courtesy: @fordnation/X)

People online are expressing mixed feelings about Premier Doug Ford’s announcement to expand alcohol accessibility at convenience stores, grocery and big box stores.


On Thursday, the Ontario government announced that beginning on January 1, 2026 consumers will be able to purchase beer, wine, cider, coolers, seltzers, and other low-alcohol ready-to-drink beverages at all participating convenience, grocery and big box stores across the province.

READ MORE: Ontario will reportedly allow beer and wine to be sold by big-box stores by 2026

However, there has been mixed reaction from people online.Some people are expressing frustration that theFord government is not focusing on other pressing issues regarding housing and healthcare. 

Others are also concerned about the accessibility of alcohol to people with substance use addictions. 

However, other people have expressed they’re on board with the new plan.

CAMH released a statement about the alcohol retail expansion in Ontario that says in part, “We are deeply concerned about the Ontario government’s plan to expand retail alcohol sales by up to 400%. Evidence shows that the expansion of alcohol availability, especially through private retail outlets, results in increased consumption and ultimately more alcohol-attributable hospitalizations, diseases, and deaths. We’ve seen these harms play out in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.”

“Emphasizing convenience will come at the expense of the health of Ontarians. A slower, staged rollout could help reduce some of these harms. CAMH is committed to working with government on how these changes are implemented,” CAMH added. 

The CEO of MADD Canada Steve Sullivan told The Brandon Gonez Show that there’s always a possible risk with expanding on alcohol accessibility.

 “Anytime you increase accessibility the harms that come with that are a risk. We’ve had alcohol in grocery stores for a couple of years now and we haven’t seen any measurable impact on impaired driving because of that,” he said.

Sullivan also noted the importance of having safety measures in place once alcohol is accessible at convenience stores. 

“Training is essential, the hours of sale, warning signs, all those things need to be considered and put into place,” he said. 

“I do think this is a concern and something we need to watch,” he added. 



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