“(We) have advocated for safe consumer choices and responsible retailing,” Ivonne Martinez, president of the Alberta Liquor Store Association (ALSA), told Global News Tuesday. “We don’t necessarily think that’s necessarily where a gas station should sell alcohol.
“We did polls. Albertans told us that 75 percent of them don’t want alcohol in convenience stores for the same reason that they don’t want underage people to have access to alcohol.
Despite the concerns of the ALSA, the 7-Eleven in the Hudson neighborhood of Edmonton is not breaking any rules.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the government agency to which businesses must apply for liquor licenses, told Global News that “a business that wishes to offer alcohol service must apply and is reviewed by AGLC to ensure that the business style meets the requirements of the type of license they are applying for.
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“As part of the application process, a public notice was posted on AGLC.ca to consider any public objections,” the agency said in a statement. “No formal objections were received for this license. Applicants must meet all policy requirements and obtain all municipal approvals. A final inspection is the last step before the issuance of a liquor license.
The AGLC noted that the 7-Eleven “has adapted its business to meet the requirements of this type of license (Class A alcohol license for authorized minors)”.
“It is the restaurant at 7-Eleven that is licensed for alcohol service – similar to several existing retail businesses, such as gas stations, specialty grocery stores or Ikea, which have cafes and restaurants in their stores. premises that meet these requirements and are currently licensed. “
According to Martinez, the ALSA understood that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province was allowing restaurants to sell alcohol with take-out orders.
“The industry as a whole really understood that this was necessary to help restaurants survive during this time. ” she said. “I’m not quite sure the rule was meant to be for the Slurpees and the Hot Dogs.
“7-Eleven found the opportunity to use this loophole: apply for a Class A restaurant with a minors license and have received it because it was licensed. “
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Martinez said that when people think of convenience stores or gas stations, they see them as a place to get an iced drink.
“The schools, when they close, the children will come together and we know that cigarettes and tobacco products end up in the hands of young people, in the hands of minors,” she said. “What is preventing them from having access to alcohol? “
Martinez noted that liquor stores have strict rules regarding their location and that suggested alcohol in convenience stores does not make sense.
“We are not allowed to be near parks, schools and / or daycare centers,” she said. “There are three schools around this specific gas station and that is causing problems.
“Our main vision is to have responsible retail, that alcohol comes into good hands… Minors are not allowed in our stores. “
In response to a request for comment from Global News, 7-Eleven Canada released a statement in which it said the company “continues to innovate and provide convenience to Canadians.”
“We are testing a variety of programs in our stores that promote a great experience for our customers,” the company said. “We have received positive feedback from customers on the expansion of food and beverage assortments and look forward to continuing to meet customer expectations.
“We are excited about the opportunity to pilot… (licensed food service) at our Edmonton facility.
7-Eleven Canada noted that the licensed food service at its location north of Edmonton “kicked off” on Monday.
“This location will follow the same rules that apply to other restaurants,” the company added. “Canadians told us they wanted the convenience of beer and wine products with their meals and snacks. “
“Food is an important part of 7-Eleven’s business today. We are a member of Restaurants Canada with a seat on the board of directors.
“Unfortunately, it’s legal,” Martinez said.
The AGLC noted that Class A Licensed Minors’ licenses “require all staff to meet mandatory certification requirements for ProServe Liquor staff and be available to prepare food, serve food / liquor and supervise customers during all alcohol service hours ”.
7-Eleven Canada said all employees at its North Edmonton site who serve alcohol have completed ProServe training as well as catering training.
“Currently, retail liquor stores are able to sell alcohol-related items, including soft drinks, glassware, Caesar rims and a number of other items listed in the manual. retail liquor store, ”the AGLC noted, adding that it would continue to operate. with its stakeholders.