LCBO Introduces ID Verification Pilot Program in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario


THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Getting into the local LCBO is going to be different across Northwestern Ontario. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is rolling out a pilot program aimed at bolstering security and safety within its stores.

This initiative, known as the “controlled entrances pilot,” mandates that customers who appear to be 17 years of age or older must show valid government-issued photo identification before gaining entry to certain stores.

This program is set to launch at six LCBO locations strategically chosen in Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout, and Kenora. The initiative will be evaluated over a 12-month period to assess its effectiveness, with a special focus on enhancing the safety of both employees and customers amid rising concerns about theft and violence in the retail sector.

An LCBO spokesperson highlighted the dual goals of the program: protecting the well-being of store patrons and staff, and mitigating the impact of theft on the business and its contributions back to the community.

The selection of Northern Ontario sites for this pilot was influenced by their geographic isolation, which is expected to prevent the displacement of theft activities to neighbouring stores.

How It Works

Upon arrival, customers are required to present a valid, government-issued photo ID to security personnel at the store’s entrance. This ID will be scanned for authenticity, legal drinking age verification, and to ensure the individual has not been implicated in previous incidents within the store.

Access will be granted on a one-customer-at-a-time basis, with entry denied to those who do not meet the set criteria.

The LCBO says that collected personal information will be securely held for 14 days and only accessed if necessary for incident investigations. There are strict protocols in place to ensure this data is neither linked with other systems nor used for marketing purposes.

Accepted Forms of Identification

The LCBO will accept a variety of non-expired, prescribed photo IDs, including:

  • Ontario Driver’s Licence
  • Ontario Photo Card
  • Canadian Citizenship Card
  • Canadian Passport
  • Canadian Forces Identification Card
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status Card
  • Recognized Out of Province/Country Photo ID

John Summers, the LCBO’s Chief Retail Officer, emphasized the organization’s commitment to maintaining a seamless customer experience. Despite the potential for minor delays, the goal is to ensure a safe and enjoyable shopping environment for all.

This initiative follows the successful implementation of similar security measures by the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) in 2020, which reported a significant decrease in thefts and positive feedback from the community.

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