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Ontario Appoints Special Advisor for Alcohol Review

News Release

Ontario Appoints Special Advisor for Alcohol Review

Government Moving Forward on Review That Will Boost Choice and Convenience

Ministry of Finance

Ontario's Government for the People has named Ken Hughes to the newly created role of Special Advisor for the Beverage Alcohol Review.

Hughes will provide advice to the Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, on how the government can modernize Ontario's beverage alcohol system to give consumers more choice and convenience, while giving businesses more opportunities.

Mr. Hughes will also serve as a principal in negotiations with alcohol stakeholders and work closely with the policy teams to develop proposals and guide implementation. He will also lead ongoing discussions with key stakeholders, including beverage alcohol producers, public health and safety organizations, municipalities, consumer groups, retailers, and restaurants and bars.

"Alcohol reform is something long-desired by the people of Ontario. Today, we're moving another step forward on our promise to improve customer choice and convenience and enable more opportunities for businesses in the beverage alcohol sector," said Minister Fedeli.  "Ken brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as Special Advisor for the Beverage Alcohol Review. We look forward to working with him on designing our plan to expand the sale of alcohol into corner, grocery and big box stores."

Ken Hughes is an entrepreneur and a seasoned public sector transition leader. He has served in many challenging public sector leadership roles and is a co-founding principal shareholder and Chair of the Board of Alpine Insurance & Financial Inc.

He served as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Energy with the Government of Alberta between 2012 and 2014, and as an MP in the House of Commons prior to that. Hughes was also the first Chair of the Board of the Alberta Health Services.

Quick Facts

  • Consumers and businesses were invited to share their views on increasing choice and convenience around the sale and consumption of beverage alcohol — over 33,000 responses were received.
  • To date, the government has increased choice and convenience and saved consumers money by:
    • Letting The Beer Store, LCBO and other authorized retailers, such as grocery stores and agency stores, sell alcohol from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week.
    • Pausing beer and wine tax hikes initiated by the previous government.
    • Lowering the price floor to allow brewers to sell beer for $1 (Buck-a-beer).

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