Marijuana Stores Likely Mean More Union Jobs

Article by Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard

Marijuana stores likely mean more union jobs By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard. Teresa Graham, president of OPSEU Local 49. (Steph Crosier/The Whig-Standard)

 Local LCBO employees who belong to OPSEU are excited and anxious for Kingston to get its own government-run marjiuana store.

“In my 13 years I never thought this would happen, but I’m excited,” Teresa Graham, president of OPSEU Local 497, said. Graham spoke with the Whig-Standard Sunday morning, before her first shift as a full-time employee with the LCBO.

“All we’ve been told is that there is one coming to Kingston, it’s going to be a standalone store, not in the LCBO, run by OPSEU members.”

On Friday Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins announced that 40 locations across Ontario will open by next July. The first batch of stores will be located in Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan and Windsor.

Graham said they’ve been told very little about the process and speculated where the store would go in Kingston. Ideally it would be central, but Sousa said during the announcement that the locations would not be located near schools.

“How far away is the distance when they say not near schools? Because where is an LCBO where there is no school?” Graham said pointing out a few locations. “But I can’t wait to find out.”

The 907 Princess St. LCBO location is near Loyalist Collegiate and St. Lawrence College. The store at 34 Barrack St. is near Central Public School, King’s Town School, Royal Military College and Queen’s University. The new location on Highway 15 is just down the road from La Salle Secondary School, Saint Martha Catholic School and Ecole Sir John A Macdonald. The furthest west end location of the LCBO, at 1089 Midland Ave., is near Cataraqui Woods Elementary School and Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School.

Social responsibility is an important aspect to what LCBO employees do, said Graham.

“I imagine there will be lots of training with these new stores. We’ve been trained in alcohol because we have to be careful serving the public, to ensure they aren’t intoxicated, we’re very diligent with that,” Graham said. “LCBO is all about making sure training is happening. We go through training all the time, we have an iLearn program. Anything new or that we need to be refreshed on, we do through iLearn.”

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