Nearly 300 new beverage alcohol retail outlets planned
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2019
Bay of Quinte – Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP and Ontario’s Government House Leader and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade announced that rural communities in and near his riding will benefit from the Province’s effort to expand choice and convenience in beverage alcohol sales.
Today, Smith revealed that Bay of Quinte communities Bayside and Carrying Place, as well as neighbouring areas like Foxboro, Roslin, Shannonville, and Wooler, have been named eligible to host some of the nearly 300 new retail locations planned across the province.
“This is good news for consumers looking to purchase their favourite drinks closer to home,” Smith said. “It also provides an opportunity for economic development in our rural communities and greater reach and visibility for craft beer, wine and cider producers across Ontario and right in our backyard.”
Smith said the government’s Open for Business, Open for Jobs approach focuses on promoting competition and establishing fairness for everyone from those small craft producers to large beer and wine producers.
The communities are among approximately 200 underserviced communities identified by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) as it expands its agency store program. The programs stores have been rebranded as LCBO Convenience Outlets. Under the process, the LCBO will release a request for proposals in each new community and all businesses applicants that meet requirements for authorization will be entered into a lottery to win the local authorization. Up to 60 stores are expected to open in August, up to 150 are expected to open by December and the additional stores are slated to open in spring 2020.
Also today, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli announced that 87 more grocery stores will also be authorized to sell wine, beer, and cider, bringing the total number to 450. Interested grocers can apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to enter a lottery process for authorization. Successful grocers entering into a wholesale supply agreement with the LCBO will be expected to start selling beverage alcohol in September.
Fedeli said today’s announcements are the first step in expanding the range of choices available to adult consumers, allowing them to make the responsible choices that work for them.
“Whether driving to the cottage or running errands, consumers across Ontario will now have more places to pick up beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages,” Fedeli said. “Our government is committed to delivering greater choice and convenience to individuals and families, and this expansion is just the beginning.”
- Ken Hughes, Special Advisor for the Beverage Alcohol Review, recently released a report detailing the inconvenience and unfairness of the current system for everyday Ontario consumers. A key recommendation was to allow more businesses to provide choice and convenience by expanding the number of LCBO agency stores and allowing alcohol to be sold in more grocery stores.
- Ontario has fewer stores that can sell alcohol than any other province when compared against population size. There are over 8,000 retail stores in Quebec selling alcohol, but less than 3,000 in Ontario.
- To date, the government has increased choice and convenience and saved consumers money by:
o Letting sports fans drink alcohol at tailgating parties at eligible sporting events.
o Enabling municipalities to make rules about alcohol consumption in public spaces like parks.
o Extending hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments, allowing them to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m.
o Letting the Beer Store, LCBO and other authorized retailers, such as grocery stores and agency stores, sell alcohol from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
o Changing advertising rules to allow for “happy hour” in Ontario.
o Providing flexibility for wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries to promote their products at manufacturing sites by removing the prescribed serving sizes for “by the glass” licences.
o Pausing beer and wine tax hikes initiated by the previous government.
o Lowering the price floor to allow brewers to sell beer for $1 (Buck-a-beer).
List of new communities eligible to host LCBO Convenience Outlets:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019
Wellington – Bay of Quinte MPP, Government House Leader, and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Todd Smith congratulated representatives from three Prince Edward County performing arts festival on $71,283 in Celebrate Ontario funding today.
The Festival Players of Prince Edward County will receive $56,750, the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival will receive $10,000, and Comedy Country 2019 will receive $4,533 as part of a province-wide $13-million fund to support events that drive tourism.
“Celebrate Ontario funding allows these creative people to focus on what they do best – producing high quality performances within our communities. Their effort to bring top musical, theatrical, and comedic talent to Prince Edward County also brings tourism, jobs, and needed revenue,” Smith said. “Past Celebrate Ontario recipients have told us that for every dollar of provincial investment, visitors spend more than $20.”
Representatives of the three festivals were pleased to learn about the government’s support.
Festival Players managing director and producer Paul Flicker said the money will support the company’s 2019 season, which begins July 9 with John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-nominated show Outside Mullingar at Wellington’s Studio Theatre.
“We are incredibly proud and grateful that the government and people of Ontario have chosen to support Festival Players,” Flicker said. “Celebrate Ontario funding will contribute to top-notch performances in Prince Edward County. Most importantly, it will help us get the word out that along with our beautiful beaches and vineyards and our world class dining, the County is now a destination for world-class arts.”
The County’s professional theatre company will stage four productions between July and September, while also providing a concert series during the Wellington Water Week festival in August.
The Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival has a mandate to make leading Canadian musicians accessible to a greater audience to perform music written by notable classical, contemporary, and Canadian composers. Chair Maureen Dunn said her festival was grateful for the Province’s generous support again this year in delivering that programming September 13-22.
“The Celebrate Ontario grant of $10,000 will permit us to continue to attract tourists to the County to attend the last excellent classical music concert of the season. With this funding, we are able to provide a free outdoor concert, Saturday, Sept. 7 at Macaulay Park and six fantastic chamber music concerts over two weekends in September,” Dunn said. “The Celebrate Ontario grant supports our vision of growing into one of Canada’s top destinations for excellence in chamber music.”
The Comedy Country summer comedy series, a special project of the renowned Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, aims to bring big laughs to rural areas. Its 2019 season kicked off with Saturday Night Live’s Kevin Nealon entertaining at the Regent Theatre last month. More hilarity is planned with performances through to the end of August. Executive director Paul Snepsts was pleased the Province recognized his festival’s work in delivering entertainment locally.
“Celebrate Ontario support for Comedy Country activities helps us deliver on our mission to present the very best comedy talent from across Canada and beyond in the distinctly rural context of Prince Edward County,” Snepsts said. “Funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport invests in a growing comedy culture in Eastern Ontario – cultivating new comedy markets and audiences, driving new tourism visitation and adding richness, variety, and quality to the tourism offering in our region.”
Smith encouraged Bay of Quinte residents to experience the high-quality productions.
“I implore you to learn more about their upcoming seasons and to buy tickets to enjoy these enriching, entertaining shows close to home. They’re truly something to celebrate,” he said.
Applications for the funding were scored by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport using a set criteria that measured events’ ability to attract visitors, community economic development, and business partnerships and organizations’ demonstrated viability to deliver proposed events.
Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport Michael Tibollo said the Province realizes the economic value of the tourism sector, which is driven by events like these three festivals.
“Ontario is open for business and open for jobs. By investing in festivals and events, our government is tapping into the economic potential of the tourism industry,” Tibollo said. “As we develop Ontario’s new tourism strategy, we will continue to invest in programs like Celebrate Ontario that help to maximize the growth and competitiveness of the great festivals and events that take place throughout the province.”
- The government will invest approximately $40,000 in the Telling Tales Festival as a part of the Celebrate Ontario program.
- Tourism supports nearly 390,000 jobs and generates over $34 billion of economic activity in Ontario.
- The tourism industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.
- The province’s tourism sector has experienced year-on-year increases in visitor spending of nearly six per cent.
- Over 250 festivals received Celebrate Ontario funding this year.
- Festival Players of Prince Edward County, www.festivalplayers.ca
- Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival, www.pecmusicfestival.com
- Comedy Country, www.comedycountry.ca
Smith celebrates Ontario's $71-million investment in improved cellular coverage across Eastern Ontario
Bay of Quinte – Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith is applauding the Ontario government’s support for a project that aims to provide reliable cellular coverage across all of Eastern Ontario.
The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Government House Leader was pleased with Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton’s announcement this morning in Roseneath as the Province committed $71 million to the proposed Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) $213-million public-private partnership to address cellular gaps.
“This project will give businesses, residents and visitors reliable access to the data applications they depend on no matter where they are in the region. It will also provide a lifeline by providing improved stability for local emergency service communications,” Smith said, noting 10 per cent of Eastern Ontario is currently without reliable service and many areas don’t have the capacity for data-rich applications.
The partnership requires contributions from the municipal and federal levels of government as well as investments from the private sector. Projections from EORN indicate it will create 3,000 jobs over a 10-year period and generate $420 million in revenues. It will also support further economic development, enhancing visitor experiences and ensuring business people can stay connected in remote areas.
“More and more we’re seeing Ontario job creators working in a global market where they connect virtually with their clients,” Smith said. “This technology is vitally important to ensure Eastern Ontario doesn’t fall behind. EORN is ensuring that whether you’re on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County or heading north, you’ll have access to the signal you expect.”
Smith said the Province has a proven record of collaborating with EORN - a network led by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus member municipalities and 10 separate municipalities. A previous partnership saw a 5,500-km fibre optics network installed between 2010 and 2016 through a similar public-private arrangement. The project brought broadband speeds exceeding 10 Mbps to nearly 90 per cent of the region, while offering connection points for further private investment. That $175-million project delivered a return on investment of $15 for every public dollar spent.
McNaughton called the project “a matter of public safety and opportunity.”
"Our government has committed to help people get the broadband and cellular connections they need," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure. "This means there are homes, businesses and major roadways where it is difficult to access the internet from a smart phone. We all know examples where people are put in dangerous positions because of dropped calls or lost connections during emergencies."
EORN board chair J. Murray Jones was thankful for the commitment.
“Too often, Eastern Ontario residents find themselves with no signal or dropped cell services,” he said. “EORN is building on the investment we’ve already made in broadband infrastructure across the region to close the gap in mobile services and improve economic growth, quality of life, and public safety.”
The Province is hopeful the federal government will commit to funding its share of the project cost.
"Last week, the federal Liberals said the people of Ontario's priorities were their priorities," McNaughton said. "Well, this is a huge priority in Eastern Ontario. It's about public safety, economic growth and development and convenience. We are investing in people and building our province's future.”
· The goal of the project is to bring cell coverage to 99 per cent of the region where people live, work and travel. Unpopulated areas, including forests, swamps and protected lands are not included in that goal.
· In the 2019 Ontario Budget, the provincial government committed $315 million over the next five years to regional and shovel-ready projects.