TORONTO - The LCBO has taken immediate action after it was revealed alcohol was sold to a burka-wearing 14 year old last week.
“We have sent notices to employees, reminding them that it is necessary to look at the customer’s face in full to ensure alcohol is being served to a person of age,” Chris Layton, spokesperosn for the LCBO said on Tuesday.
Layton also said that the LCBO has updated their training program to include a segment on how to deal with culturally sensitive situations, such as asking a customer to remove a burka for identification purposes.
“This is very new to us and we haven’t seen it before. Our staff are used to dealing with facial coverings like Halloween masks and sunglasses. This is new territory,” Layton said.
The teen was served at three different GTA liquor store locations where he bought booze without a problem.
It was filmed by Sun News host David Menzies, who sent the eighth grader, dressed in Islamic female’s traditional clothes of a burka, headscarf and facial covering.
In each incident, the cashier rang up the booze for the teenager without asking for identification.
Menzies said the unopened bottles of alcohol, totaling a little over $80, were taken from the teen when the day was done.
Under the organization’s Check 25 program, cashiers are instructed to ask for the IDs of anyone who appears to look younger than 25 years of age.
“The LCBO staff do take pride in serving people responsibly and in surveys that employees do, making sure their customers are of age always is of great importance to them,” Layton said.
He added that last year, LCBO staff challenged over 6 million people who appeared underage or intoxicated and in 84% of those cases, the customer was refused because they appeared underage.
Layton said he can’t speculate on why those specific cashiers didn’t ask for identification and that it’s still being looked into.
“Our staff may have faltered in the their obligations because they weren’t sure how to deal with a culturally sensitive situation,” he said.
The notification told staff they should be well aware that if people do not remove their facial coverings of any kind, they will not be receiving service.
“We want to provide options to Muslims who come in covering their faces. They can show their face to a female employee if it makes them feel more comfortable, or if they still don’t wish to identify themselves, they can buy a gift card,” he said.
Layton said with the new culturally sensitive segment in their training program and the notifications that went out, he is confident that LCBO employees will be well-equipped to deal with scenarios of facial covering.
“I don’t think this will ever happen again,” he said.