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Smart Serve Ontario Announces Tailored Retail Training Program in Partnership with Ontario Convenience Store Association

By July 2, 2024July 5th, 2024No Comments

Smart Serve Ontario and the Ontario Convenience Store Association are proud to announce a new retail focused training program which will offer responsible industry tailored alcohol sales training for retail employees in thousands of new retail outlets.

As a partnership between two trusted organizations, the Ontario Convenience Store Association and Smart Serve Ontario are working together to support the government’s announced rollout of alcohol retail modernization and to play our part in maintaining the high standards for social responsibility that Ontarians have come to expect. We are pleased to announce our partnership which will, subject to AGCO approval, launch a retail specific training program for workers who will be selling alcohol in Ontario’s expanded marketplace. Retail employees will be able to achieve Smart Serve training and certification in English and French with expanded languages to follow. Certification will be valid for five years, substantially discounted for an introductory period, and tailored to the needs of retail alcohol sales.

This specialized retail training will provide real life scenarios specifically addressing those that sell in a retail environment.  It will focus on Convenience stores, retail/grocery shops, and delivery drivers. This course will include:

  • Availability in English and French and will be expanded to include Punjabi, Korean, and Chinese
  • Will provide responsible service training and focus on the laws and regulations in Ontario
  • Will provide proper training on how to recognize intoxicated individuals and properly ID people to ensure that underage customers are not sold alcohol

Smart Serve Ontario’s new training program will have industry-leading safety protections, including mandatory proctoring and AI blocking. This ensures that only the person who successfully completes a Smart Serve Ontario course will be able to receive this certification. This feature reduces fraud and ensures that only fully-trained individuals are selling alcohol in Ontario’s expanded retail environment.

“Retail workers deserve the best training and support” said Richard Anderson, Executive Director, Smart Serve Ontario. “With Alcohol soon being available in Ontario across retail convenience stores, Smart Serve is proud to offer safe tailored training and support in five languages. We have been training the industry in Ontario since 1995 and look forward to working with the Ontario Convenience Store Association to teach how to sell, handle, and deliver alcohol. Our program will be the only course that includes proctoring, to ensure that Ontarians can have confidence in the capability of alcohol sellers in Ontario’s expanded retail environment. Furthermore, we are excited to provide immediate access to mental health supports through our Smart Serve Cares Campaign to valid Smart Serve certified individuals.”

“The OCSA is pleased that beverage alcohol will be available at convenience stores across Ontario soon. OCSA and our members recognize that the opportunity to sell regulated products like beer and wine carries a responsibility to ensure safe service and staff training of our employees,” said Kenny Shim President of the OCSA. He added, “OCSA members have a history of the highest regulatory compliance and have been trusted to sell restricted products like lottery and tobacco for decades. We look forward to working with Smart Serve, the leader in beverage alcohol training in Ontario since 1995.”

Smart Serve Ontario is a registered charity dedicated to supporting the hospitality industry since 1995. Smart Serve is the only responsible alcohol beverage sales and service training program recognized by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Smart Serve is dedicated to developing and delivering training to all individuals who sell, serve, handle, or deliver alcohol in the Province of Ontario.

Representing over 6,700 stores located in Ontario, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association is engaged on many issues affecting convenience store retailers, most of which are independent family stores.

The members are committed to compliance with significant government regulations which include age verification for tobacco and lottery products. Nothing short of 100% is the goal of the association in being responsible community retailers and seeking identification from those individuals seeking to purchase age restricted products that appear to be 25 years old or younger.