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Federal government, diplomats get steep discount on booze in Ontario

Shoppers stocked up on alcohol at the Queen's Quay LCBO location Thursday afternoon, May 16, 2013, in advance of a potential strike.

galit rodan The Globe and Mail

Ontario's liquor board has sweetened an already sweet deal for the federal government and foreign diplomats as it chops the prices they pay for beer, wine and booze almost in half.

In late June, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario began offering its products to federal departments and agencies at a 49 per cent discount from the retail price that everyone else pays.

The cut rate on alcoholic beverages is also available to foreign embassies, high commissions, consulates and trade missions, most of whom are located in the Ottawa area, within the LCBO's jurisdiction.

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And the favoured buyers will be exempt from an LCBO policy dating from 2001 that sets minimum prices for products, under its "social responsibility" mandate.

The new pricing, approved by the board of directors on April 25 this year, replaces an older, more complex discount formula that was based on the individual cost of products.

The now-uniform 49 per cent discount is applied to the basic retail price, but before HST.

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