POLITICS
02/05/2019 13:50 EST | Updated 02/05/2019 13:50 EST

Most Ontarians Want Looser Rules For Alcohol Sales, Poll Finds

Residents across Ontario support the government’s move to expand hours at the LCBO.

Beer is displayed at a grocery store in Ottawa on Aug. 9, 2018.
Justin Tang/Canadian Press
Beer is displayed at a grocery store in Ottawa on Aug. 9, 2018.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's move to expand hours at the LCBO may be his most popular yet.

Sixty-eight per cent of Ontarians support the government's decision to keep liquor stores open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, according to a new poll by Abacus Data.

"There's no political divide on this idea," the company's CEO David Coletto wrote in a post about the survey on Tuesday. There's support for longer LCBO hours across the province and across genders and age groups.

Most Ontarians will support the government if it makes more changes to the way alcohol is sold, too. Sixty per cent want to see spirits sold in grocery stores, 51 per cent want alcohol sold at corner stores and 76 per cent support the idea of allowing "specialty" private wine shops into the market.

Abacus Data conducted its survey online with 800 Ontarians from Jan. 11 to Jan. 14, 2019. The margin of error for a comparable sample is +/- 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted so that the sample matched Ontario's population according to age, gender, educational attainment and region.

Changes coming 'based on demand'

Ford's government has already said it will expand alcohol sales to corner stores, grocery stores and big-box stores "based on demand." The government asked for public input on the idea in an online survey that closed Friday.

The premier made headlines during the 2018 election campaign when he pledged to lower the minimum price for beer to $1.

When the program launched, one brewer told HuffPost Canada that it would be impossible to make $1-beers that would be "worth buying."

There are no companies left selling beers at a regular price of $1. The last brewer to continue Ford's challenge, Etobicoke, Ont.'s Cool Beer Brewing, said in January that it would only offer buck-a-beers on long weekends for 2019.

Earlier on HuffPost: