Unveiling of provincial buck a beer scheme expected today

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to formally announce the provincial government's buck-a-beer plan at a Brewery in Picton, Ontario today.

Ford, who was joined by Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, and Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Todd Smith, announced that, effective August 27, Ontario's Government for the People will lower the minimum price floor to $1.00 for any beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent.

To provide incentives for brewers to lower their prices, the government is creating what it calls the buck-a-beer challenge, which will provide participating breweries with incentives at the provincially-owned LCBO stores. "This was a promise made during the election campaign", added the source.

Government documents show the previous scheme brought in roughly $589 million in 2016-17.

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The move is voluntary for the province's 260 brewers, and has raised questions about how many will actually implement cheaper prices given higher costs since beer was last allowed to be sold at $1 - a decade ago.

The program will see the government-set minimum price of beer drop from $1.25 to $1.00 before tax and deposit.

Breweries that offer buck-a-beer this summer could get lucrative incentives including prime shelf space and free advertising with the LCBO, CTV News Toronto has learned. Once upon a time you could buy a beer for $1 a bottle.

"Lower alcohol prices can lead to increased consumption, particularly among those with alcohol problems, and among young people, and that increased consumption can in turn lead to increased alcohol-related problems, including impaired driving".

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"Lowering the price of alcohol carries implications and risks for public safety", MADD Canada said in a statement.

"Give the tax payers a break and let them have 24 cans of beer for 24 bucks".

The premier was also asked about his plan for the sale of cannabis once it becomes legal in October, after some published reports said the province would allow private sector sales.

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