Unlike public liquor stores in Ontario, British Columbia-owned liquor stores do not operate on Sundays. Now, the British Columbian Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) published a study conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion that shows overwhelming support for expansion of public liquor stores.
In a surprise move, the BCGEU is urging the provincial government to open Sundays, extend shopping hours and open new public liquor stores in order to generate more revenue for the province. According to the survey, at least 64 percent of the public support the aforementioned endeavours.
“Government stores offer lower prices, better selection, good customer service, convenience and better wages in communities all across the province. They are also a reliable source of government revenue for public services,” said Darryl Walker, BCGEU president, in a news release.
The BC Liquor Stores operate 197 stores – 22 of which are open on Sundays – and employ more than 3,500 individuals. Walker explained that opening stores on Sundays would garner around $100 million in revenue annually.
“Sunday openings make sense. There is simply no business case to justify having 175 public liquor stores closed each and every Sunday,” added the BCGEU president. “We pay the lease, the hydro, all the overhead but keep the stores closed on Sundays. It does not make sense.”
The Angus Reid survey was conducted online with 796 randomly selected adults between Jul. 10 and Jul. 12. It contains a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
According to the Times Colonist, the BCGEU is in contract negotiations with the province. The primary focus on the talks, which ceased in June and have yet to restart, has been over wages. The union wants an increase greater than the 3.5 percent increase over a two-year period offered by the government.