Today the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL) shared a series of critical and immediate safety and security protocols that will be put in place in many Liquor Marts across Manitoba. 

“We are very encouraged by these initiatives.  It shows that the employer has taken the concerns we’ve raised on behalf of Liquor Mart employees seriously and has come up with a well-thought out plan,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky.  “We anxiously await the results of these safety measures.”

For the past several months, the MGEU has met with senior leadership at the MBLL on a few occasions to raise the very real concerns of safety and overall mental and physical health of the members working for the Liquor Marts due to the increase and nature of thefts in the stores.

Many of the issues brought forward on behalf of the membership are now part of the safety initiatives moving forward. “It’s refreshing that MBLL leadership listened to our members and worked hand-in-hand with us to improve safety at these stores – for our members and for the public,” Gawronsky said.

Some staff-specific initiatives include trauma counseling, the ability to close stores and send counselors there after a serious incident, and resilience training to teach managers and assistant managers how to mentally support themselves and staff affected by thefts.

Many initiatives are also targeted specifically with reducing the amount of Liquor Mart thefts and catching thieves. Everything from checking bags/backpacks at the front of the store and keeping them secure; ID checks and video display monitors with facial recognition capabilities at Liquor Mart entrances; securing high-end alcohol in locked cases, using bottle locks and alarm pedestals, displaying dummy bottles or product image cards in place of actual product; to more costly measures like hiring a mobile team of Loss Prevention Officers, and expanding the use of uniformed Special Duty Constables in Winnipeg.

The MBLL has a communications plan that is being rolled out to advertise these new initiatives and will also be creating a website that will indicate the number of arrests and show the faces of people who have been convicted of Liquor Mart thefts.

“I think the next few months will be very telling to see what parts of this plan are working, what parts need further improvement and if something was missed,” Gawronsky said. “We will continue to closely monitor the safety of our members in all Manitoba Liquor Marts. They deserve safe, healthy workplaces.”