B.C.’s Hospitality and Tourism Businesses Urge Swift End to BCGEU Job Action

Published August 24, 2022

Sector Still Reeling from Global Pandemic Now at the Mercy of Labour Dispute

VANCOUVER, BC (August 24, 2022) — Today, an unprecedented alliance of 19 industry  associations and stakeholder groups representing the province’s hospitality, liquor, tourism, accommodation, and cannabis retail businesses sent an open letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan,  and the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU), urging a swift resolution when the two parties return to the bargaining table. 

On Aug. 15, the BCGEU commenced job action outside four key Liquor Distribution Branch  warehouses, which together supply about 40 per cent of all alcohol in B.C. and are the only source  for imported alcohol products and “ready-to-drink” beverages. The warehouses are also the only  source of legal regulated cannabis for most of B.C.’s cannabis retailers. 

Though intended to motivate the provincial government, the BCGEU’s job action strikes yet  another crushing blow to the hospitality and tourism sector, which is only beginning to recover after  the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This labour dispute has nothing to do with our sector; we’re collateral damage in this job action,”  said Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC). “We  support workers’ rights, but no one has the right to cause this much disruption and damage to  industries not involved in negotiations.” 

While picket lines are up outside the LDB warehouses, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, event  venues, hotels and retailers cannot pick up orders already placed and cannot place new liquor or  cannabis orders. Provincial regulations do not permit direct delivery of many liquor and cannabis  products to licensees and retailers, nor are they allowed to buy products themselves from BC  Liquor stores or from other retailers. 

Cut off from inventory, many establishments, venues and retailers have already begun to  experience product shortages and impacts on revenue — some are contemplating layoffs as early  as next week. 

“Before the pandemic, B.C.’s hospitality and tourism sector was growing faster than the provincial  economy as a whole, but we’ve suffered an inequitable share of pandemic-related setbacks over  the past few years,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and  Foodservices Association (BCRFA). “Now once again, our industries will unfairly bear the brunt of  serious economic consequences including business closures and layoffs, cancelled events such as  concerts and weddings, loss of consumer confidence, and damage to B.C.’s reputation among  tourists and consumers.” 

Read the open letter from industry associations and stakeholder groups on the BCRFA website  here or the ABLE BC website here.

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Download the open letter and fact sheet in PDF via Google Drive here. 

MEDIA CONTACTS 

Ian Tostenson 

President/CEO 

British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association 604-986-1429 

itostenson@bcrfa.com 

www.bcrfa.com 

Jeff Guignard 

Executive Director 

The Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC) 

604-499-2566 

jeff@ablebc.ca 

www.ablebc.ca 

Ken Beattie for Craft Beer Inquiries 

Executive Director 

BC Craft Brewers Guild 

604-306-1500 

ken@bccraftbeer.com 

www.bccraftbeer.com

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