Blog Post #1145 – Winnipeg Liquor Store Closes After Employees Assaulted

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Three Manitoba liquor store workers were assaulted and one was taken to hospital and what the province’s Crown Corporation calls an unprovoked attack.

It happened in Winnipeg November 20, 2019 and prompted Manitoba liquor and lotteries to temporarily close the store one set up a new secure entrance where customers will have to show photo identification before entering.

Thefts at Manitoba’s government-run liquor stores have been increasing and the corporation’s CEO, Manny Atwal, says liquor stores have been “under siege” now for more than a year.

Atwal says other stores will also eventually be fitted with secure entrances, and the thefts are a part of a larger societal issue that needs to be addressed by retailers, governments and others.

Loss-prevention officers and liquor store workers are being told not to physically stop thieves.

“our employees… Should not have to come to work every day wondering how many times somebody will threaten them, or how many times someone will try to harm them or harm one of our customers,” Atwal said.

“This has to stop!”

Some 10 to 20 liquor thefts are reported every day in Winnipeg alone, the city’s police force said.

My opinion

I cannot believe that it is taken Manitoba this long to recognize violence and harassment on the job as a real hazard that must be addressed. Or maybe they did recognize it and failed to properly assess the situation and consider the situation now as a last resort. Either way, they waited much too long for this.

In 2010, Ontario created a whole new section on violence and harassment protection under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA). Sections 32.0.1 to 32.0.8 inclusive cover the needs of the workplace on how to understand violence, harassment, and how to keep workplace policies and procedures to deal with them.

I’m deeply disappointed that the Manitoba is lagging so far behind in health and safety issues. Just terrible!

Couldn’t someone there check on other province’s response to the same issues? The “Right to Refuse” is a standard piece of legislation in most jurisdictions in Canada and I was wondering if it exists in Manitoba.

Maybe, the legislation has little or no teeth, OR, maybe there is little effort in enforcement. Either way, too bad for the liquor store workers.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Violence and Harassment’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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