The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) regulates the sale of alcohol products in Ontario. Fans of wine not available on the shelves of the LCBO’s outlets may form wine clubs that order particular wines through the LCBO. Until recently, the LCBO collected the names and addresses of all the members of the clubs placing these orders.
Acting on a complaint by a manager/member of such a club, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario recently ordered that the LCBO stop collecting this personal information. In response, the LCBO stopped filling orders from the wine clubs.
According to the CBC story, a spokesperson for the LCBO said the LCBO asked for club members' personal information to prevent illegal re-sale, and to contact consumers in case of a recall.
But the Information and Privacy Commissioner ruled the LCBO was only able to provide "anecdotal or hypothetical evidence" to support its position and that the collection of the personal information was not necessary.
Naturally a number of wine lovers (and drinkers) are not pleased to have their supply dry up. One club recently circulated this note to its members:
We have contacted the senior representatives at LCBO Private Ordering and have requested that they confirm the LCBO's action and to let us know how we can to process our wine club orders (including the many we have recently received but have not placed with the LCBO). We are awaiting their reply.
In the interim, please let your local MPP know your feelings on the issue and why not drop Bob Peter, President and Chief Executive Officer of the LCBO a line.
No matter what, please keep those orders flowing. Working with our partners at the LCBO, we'll find a way to get them processed.
Where should the line be drawn between a regulator’s duty to regulate and a drinker’s right to privacy?