Dear Premier Wynne,
I am writing to you today to express my concern over the absence of public health warnings in Ontario grocery stores that sell alcohol. For more than a decade, Sandy’s Law has required signage at all Ontario establishments that serve or sell liquor, warning that the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This includes restaurants and bars, as well as authorized retail stores like the LCBO and The Beer Store.
This requirement, however, does not extend to Ontario grocery stores that sell alcohol. A document published last month by the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) confirms that “grocery stores are not currently required to post a copy of Ontario’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder warning in their stores”. The AGCO, however, “strongly recommends and encourages this practice”.
This government’s laissez-faire approach is disconcerting, given that FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in North America. Specifically, FASD can result in a number of physical disabilities, brain and central nervous system disabilities, and behavioural problems, the effects of which are permanent. It is estimated that over 130,000 Ontarians are living with FASD.
Protecting the public’s interests should be at the core of any government’s mandate. New Democrats are calling on your government to do the right thing and require that FASD warning signs be posted in Ontario grocery stores that sell alcohol.
MPP London West
ONDP Critic for Women’s Issues