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Social Responsibility

Selling liquor responsibly is a public trust the LCBO has taken very seriously since 1927. We consider social responsibility as important as our mandate to provide a high level of customer service and maximize dividends for the provincial government.

Although we’re a retailer, there are some people we won’t serve: those who are underage, lack proper identification to prove their age, appear intoxicated or are suspected of shopping for those individuals.

Preventing sales to minors is a year-round responsibility LCBO employees take very seriously through our Challenge and Refusal program. LCBO staff challenged more than 7.8 million individuals in 2012-13 for failing to produce valid ID, appearing intoxicated or attempting to purchase for a minor or an impaired individual. Service was refused to more than 322,000 people, with 84 per cent for reasons of age.

Under our year-round Check 25 program, potential customers who appear to be under 25 years of age are routinely asked for valid proof of age ID. This helps ensure that minors (those under 19 years of age) who look older than their years are not served.

Every LCBO employee serving the public participates in the organization's Challenge & Refusal: It’s not Personal. It’s the Law. training program. It teaches staff about responsible service and related judgement calls, alcohol issues and how to identify potential problems and handle them tactfully.

Through seminars, instructional workbooks and videos, staff learn how to deal with customers who appear intoxicated or underage, second-party purchasers (those buying alcohol for someone who’s not legally entitled to purchase it) and difficult refusals at the checkout counter. A number of other Canadian and U.S. liquor boards use this LCBO training package.

LCBO’s tamper-resistant Bring Your Identification (BYID) photo card, endorsed by the provincial government, proves that customers are of legal drinking age. To apply for a BYID card, applicants must be 19-35 years of age, supply a passport-size colour photo, photocopies of documents proving date of birth and name and a $30 fee. A guarantor must sign the back of the photo and all documentation and fill out a section of the application. Random checks help ensure applications and guarantors are valid.

Click here to view the application form online or visit any LCBO store for a copy. This card can be used to purchase beverage alcohol in all retail stores and licensed establishments in Ontario. As of June 1, 2011, there are now eight forms of prescribed ID, which include: Ontario Driver’s Licence, LCBO’s BYID Card, Canadian Passport, Canadian Citizenship Card, Canadian Armed Forces Identification Card, Certificate of Indian Status Card, Permanent Resident Card and Ontario Photo Card.

To help increase awareness of the consequences of drinking and driving and to encourage people to make responsible choices, the LCBO undertakes high-profile, responsible-drinking advertising campaigns, encouraging Ontarians to speak up to help prevent their friends, family members and guests from drinking and driving.

LCBO's current social responsibility advertising campaign Deflate the Elephant, offers new ways to empower Ontarians to speak up by providing tips, tools and resources. The website,, features interactive hosting scenarios, the Home Bartending Challenge to master the perfect pour, downloadable responsible hosting tips and tools to help prevent drinking and driving, as well as a free iPhone "Speak Up!" app and Facebook site.

Our commitment to social responsibility goes far beyond simply refusing service. It’s an important factor in every corporate decision we make. For example, we carry low-alcohol products and set minimum prices, since research shows that price affects consumption levels.

Social responsibility also involves encouraging responsible use of our products. We provide advice on responsible entertaining, promote food matches for beer, wine and spirits and offer delicious alcohol-free Mocktail recipes. Our posters, advertising, website and other materials promote moderate consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle and remind consumers never to drink and drive.

To help increase awareness of the consequences of drinking and driving and to encourage people to make the right choice, the LCBO undertakes high-profile, responsible-drinking advertising campaigns, such as Deflate the Elephant, which offer new ways to help Ontarians prevent a friend, colleague or guest from driving after drinking.

Public service messages from many organizations also appear free-of-charge in LCBO stores. LCBO’s free consumer publication, FOOD & DRINK, also promotes responsible drinking and hosting.

Over the years, the LCBO has partnered with numerous groups to promote social responsibility and raise awareness of important alcohol-related issues, such as drinking and driving, responsible personal consumption and alcohol and health. Our partners have included: social and health agencies; social responsibility groups; community organizations; police agencies; educational agencies; the hospitality industry; and government.

Our store network across Ontario makes us a sought-after partner for organizations looking to raise public awareness and funds. Working with them enables the LCBO to distribute social responsibility information in a cost-effective way.

While it may not make cash donations or sponsor events, LCBO and its employees are committed to assisting charitable organizations. As a caring organization, the LCBO helps many charitable groups each year through donation boxes at our store checkouts. If you are a provincial charitable organization and want to find out how to apply for the provincial donation box program, click here. Or for information on the local level program, in January and July, click here.

In 2013, the LCBO is supporting the following charities: click here.

When you add monies from our corporate United Way campaign and individual community fundraising events, LCBO raised more than $6.6 million for worthy causes in 2012.

The LCBO’s Quality Assurance Laboratory ensures that safe, high-quality beverage alcohol products are made available to customers. The laboratory is ISO certified, which means it meets the highest international standards. All products sold by the LCBO are chemically tested to comply with both federal and provincial standards. In 2012-13, our lab conducted more than 500,000 tests on more than 23,000 products. Our Quality Assurance staff also reviewed 13,000 new product labels.

People who buy untested illegal alcohol are playing Russian roulette with their health. Seized products have been found to contain carcinogens, toxins and poisons. Bootleg alcohol is also accessible to those who should not have it - minors and intoxicated people - putting others at risk from drunk driving and other dangerous situations.

Ontario taxpayers also lose, as an important source of government revenue that could be spent on social and health programs goes instead to criminals. We estimate that smuggled liquor and illegally manufactured wine represented over $804 million of the $9.5 billion Ontario beverage alcohol market – in fiscal 2011-12.

So, as you can see, the LCBO really is a retailer with a difference. Every day, we strike the necessary balance between serving our customers, generating revenue for the province and protecting public health and safety - it's what Ontarians expect from us.

For more information, contact the LCBO Social Responsibility Department at 416 864-6820. You can also call LCBO’s bilingual Contact Centre at 1-800-ONT-LCBO (1-800-668-5226). In Metro Toronto, call 416 365-5900 or online at The TTY numbers for the deaf and hard of hearing are 416 864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291.


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