The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) held our annual Queens Park Day meeting with MPPs from all political parties on opportunities for the family run businesses in Ontario. Thank you to the 17 retailers who attended & presented to the many MPPs.
Special thanks to Hon. Vic Fideli for your warm words at our reception and your commitment to a brighter future for our members .
And thank you to all MPPs for their support of the convenience channel & your open arms reception all day long.
Below is a summary of the successful event as told by OCSA CEO Dave Bryans.
Seventeen retailers representing the interests of all convenience store retailers converged on Queen’s Park in the early morning hours of March 27. We started the day off with an MPP breakfast hosted by Minister Vic Fideli (Minister of Finance) where we had a great turn out of members from all four political parties (Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Green Party). There they met with our Board and retailers and we kicked off a day of meetings and Question Period attendance. Minister Fideli addressed all attendees and spoke very highly of the OCSA, the leadership it has demonstrated and the dedication of our Board members on the many files we carry. At this time he did confirm (prior to any announcements) that he is preceding with opening the beer and wine retailing to conveniences stores, grocery and big box. What a great way to kick off your day at the legislature.
Throughout the day groups of retailers met with various assigned MPPs to discuss the importance of the convenience store sector in Ontario highlighting our successful track record of selling tobacco, lottery and vape products with a declared government pass rate of 96.2%, the highest of any retail channel in Ontario and even Canada. The areas we highlighted throughout the day were the expansion of beverage alcohol and our appreciation of the Ford administration for living up to the election promise and moving forward. We discussed a certification program known as ‘Smart Age’ that will train all employees on the handling of all age-restricted products in a coordinated one-stop site in conjunction with a national accredited organization (to be announced).
Lastly we confirmed the need to instill mandatory “pre-pay” at the pumps for gas purchases in all urban gas sites to protect our employees and customers from the speeding away of criminals stealing gas with no regard for safety or loss of business. Gas sites are seeing this trend growing every day (similar to the LCBO duffle bag thefts) when we have way to enforce the honorary pay system in place. The Chiefs of Police are our partner as they cannot afford to call on the thousands of drive-offs throughout Ontario every year.
We also invited all 26 MPPs to the OCSA convenience store day scheduled for the week of August 26 in the family run stores in their communities. We understand there are many more requests from MPPs and we will insure they have the opportunity to stand in your store, serve customers and have a better understanding of the issues we face on this designated day for charity.
I want to thank the retailers who represented all of you throughout the day and the dedication the OCSA Board has made to working with the Ford administration on the expansion of beer and wine in our channel. It wouldn’t have happened without the long-term relationships the OCSA has developed with all politicians on your behalf. We are almost there!