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Controlled Entrances FAQs

No. Liquor & Lotteries had already started construction of the controlled entrance when the incident took place. This new security measure was being arranged several weeks earlier.
We said last spring that we would try many different measures to see which combinations might be effective. While some have worked to some degree, nothing has been able to demonstrably stem the number and frequency of the thefts and robberies.  We did not want to have to take such drastic measures – but we have no choice.
The loss prevention officers have been quite effective at making arrests but as the police have stated, we can’t arrest our way out of this. Loss prevention officers are only one tool in our kit. We are now focused on preventing the thieves from entering our stores.
Liquor Marts have a longstanding reputation for offering a great shopping experience with excellent customer service. This begins with customers and employees feeling safe. We’ve heard from customers and employees that they don’t feel safe anymore. Controlled entrances are one of the steps that we’re taking to reclaim that safety.
Controlled entrances are coming to all Winnipeg Liquor Marts and Liquor Mart Express stores over the coming months.
This issue is mostly limited to our Winnipeg stores. If warranted, measures may extend to other Liquor Mart locations.
These risks already exist today. It’s important that customers remain aware of their surrounding no matter where they are shopping.



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Photo ID FAQs

Once a location has a controlled entrance, all customers must show valid photo identification at the entrance. The ID will be scanned before the customer is allowed into the store. In the coming weeks and months, controlled entrances will be rolled out to all Winnipeg Liquor Marts. 
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries is committed to providing our employees and customers a safe working and shopping experience. ID is a deterrent to would-be thieves who do not want their identity known. It also helps law enforcement in the event of an incident.
When we scan your ID, we are making sure your photo ID is legitimate (not fake), valid (not expired), and that you are 18 or older.
Your scanned photo ID will not be released to any third-party except for law enforcement purposes if necessary.
The information collected is held for no more than 24 hours and then deleted unless it is required for law enforcement purposes.
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) allows Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries to collect information for law enforcement purposes or crime prevention.
Liquor & Lotteries will manage, store and protect your scanned photo ID according to the Manitoba Ombudsman’s guidelines on privacy and surveillance. Your scanned photo ID will not be released to any third-party except for law enforcement purposes.
The same forms of ID that are already accepted for proof of age are accepted for entry at the security station. These include:
  • Driver’s Licence issued in Manitoba or another jurisdiction
  • Enhanced Driver’s Licence issued in Manitoba or another jurisdiction
  • Manitoba Identification Card
  • Manitoba Enhanced Identification Card
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Passport

Alternatively, two forms of government-issued identification may be shown, one of which must be photo ID. Examples include:

  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Canadian Firearms Licence
  • Canadian Forces Identification Card (National Defence)
  • Nexus Card
Unfortunately, without valid ID you won’t be able to enter any Liquor Mart that has a controlled entrance. We understand that some people don’t have ID and are not used to needing it to buy liquor. For those customers, the most convenient form of valid ID to obtain is likely a Manitoba Identification Card. This is not a driver’s licence. Click here to go to MPI’s information page on identification cards.
No minors are permitted in Liquor Marts that have controlled entrances. This includes small children, even if they are with their parent or guardian.
Only people who are legally able to consume our products will be allowed in a store with a controlled entrance.

It is impossible for security guards to quickly and easily determine or make decisions regarding what is an appropriate age for minors to enter, and we are unable to ID minors to prove their age. For this reason, we have decided to remove access for all minors.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we continue to improve safety at our stores. 

Customers will begin to see the security station under construction one to two weeks before the new entrance rules take effect. We recommend you start carrying your photo ID with you if you don’t already.
For more information on our privacy policy and who you can contact regarding your personal information, please visit our Privacy Policy page on this site.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries uses security and anti-theft strategies that are on par with not only other Canadian liquor jurisdictions, but major private retailers across Canada.

While many of these tactics are visible, including security guards, surveillance cameras, video displays, bottle locks, active alarm pedestals, dummy bottles, product display cards and lockable shelf cases others cannot be easily seen by the public.

Our corporate Investigation and surveillance teams work closely with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) and this, coupled with the presence of WPS special duty constables and our own loss prevention officer team, has led to the identification and arrest of hundreds of individuals. We continue to diligently analyze and explore all options in addressing this issue.

Each week, a significant number of individuals are arrested and charged. Since the escalation of incidents in 2018, over 450 individuals have been arrested for thefts/robberies at Liquor Marts, many for multiple incidents.

Members of our loss prevention team have extensive law enforcement backgrounds and in their first four weeks were responsible for 33 arrests, including three individuals responsible for a combined 322 thefts, and the recovery of thousands of dollars in product.

The current trend of brazen thefts is not isolated to Winnipeg Liquor Marts. Other local retailers, including grocery and department stores, are also experiencing high rates of theft at their businesses. Earlier this fall, Maclean’s magazine profiled the trend of meat thefts in Winnipeg, and the Retail Council of Canada has noted that downtown Winnipeg’s theft rate is triple (4-5%) that of the national average (1.44%). Winnipeg Police Service data also shows a dramatic increase in shoplifting. It has been reported that between August 2018 and July 2019, the number of shoplifting incidents disclosed to police increased by almost 82% over the previous year. Recently, the United Food Workers of Canada, Local 832 spoke out about their concerns about thefts occurring at Winnipeg grocery stores.
In the event of a theft, please listen to and follow the instructions provided by Liquor Mart staff. We know how hard it is to witness these crimes and do nothing, but it is important that you DO NOT INTERVENE in an active theft. This means that you:
  • do not record the theft or robbery with your phone;
  • do not try to stop, trip, or tackle thieves;
  • do not try to engage, confront or follow thieves;
  • do not try to recover stolen product.
Liquor Mart employee training is focused on theft prevention. Our staff are trained to approach people they think may be stealing, speak with them, and discourage them from leaving the store with the product - a method that has been effective with traditional shoplifters.

Over the last 18 months, there has been a paradigm shift to the types of thefts we are seeing today. The people committing these crimes are not your average shoplifter. They are often dangerous and have little regard for the people working and shopping at Liquor Marts. We do not want, nor expect our employees to intervene in an active crime or attempt to apprehend thieves.

Security guards stationed at Liquor Marts play an important role in observing, detecting and deterring theft, however, they are not police and must conform to a different set of standards. They employ the use of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention techniques, which focuses on strategies for defusing hostile and violent situations, the standard for retailers across the country. Security guards are important to the safety and security of Liquor Mart employees and customers.

All Liquor Marts are equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment that captures high definition images from all angles. We work closely with the Winnipeg Police Service, and they, as well as our internal Loss Prevention Officer team, have been successful in catching and arresting the individuals committing these thefts.

While we understand that many Manitobans may see this as a potential solution, moving to a Consumers Distributing model is not a quick fix; it will not alleviate the issue in the short term. Converting all 36 Winnipeg Liquor Marts to a behind-the-counter model would require extensive renovations costing millions of dollars per store and take years to complete.

Before such a major retailing shift is undertaken, it is crucial that we carefully weigh the pros and cons of adopting a new retail model, along with the risks.

Manitoba Liquor Marts also process more than 11 million transactions annually. With this number of transactions coupled with customer retail expectations, the Consumers Distributing model is not practical.

While this idea is certainly one we have taken into consideration, it is not one we are actively pursuing at this time

It’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. Here are some ways to stay safe in public, no matter where you are:
  • Remember that your safety is more important than anything you’re carrying.
  • Park and walk in well-lit, busy areas.
  • Stay off your phone while walking. Keep your attention on your surroundings.
  • If you get approached outside or see someone suspicious, go to the nearest open business.
According to the Alberta Liquor Store Association, there have been 5,000 liquor store robberies in Edmonton alone in 2019, a 300% increase over 2018. Many of the Alberta liquor thefts echo what we are seeing in Liquor Marts; people entering the store with duffel bags, swarming techniques, etc. The current theft epidemic we are seeing in Winnipeg is not isolated to our city.
The shrink rate for Liquor Marts for the most recent period for which data is available is 0.70% (April 1 to September 30, 2019). While this is significantly higher than our shrink rates in previous years (0.43% in 2018-19 and 0.15% in 2017-18), it is still relatively low when compared to national retail shrink rates. The Retail Council of Canada has noted that the theft rate in downtown Winnipeg for some national retailers is as high as 4-5%. While any retail business aims to have a zero per cent shrink rate, the current Canadian national retail average is approximately 1.44%.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries has not increased its markups (our portion of the retail price that generates revenues) in response to the increased levels of theft. Any price increases customers may see are a result of regular price changes implemented by the liquor suppliers.
We are currently receiving hundreds of comments and suggestions on ways to address Liquor Mart thefts. Please be assured we have read every one of your emails/letters and have shared them with our retail and corporate security teams. Unfortunately, we are not able to respond to every message, but we do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas.


Weeks of December 23, 2019 to January 19, 2020

  • In the first three weeks of 2020, our internal Loss Prevention team and law enforcement agencies arrested 17 individuals who were involved in nearly 340 incidents of theft and/or robbery from Liquor Marts.

Week of December 16 – 22

  • The Winnipeg Police Service and our internal Loss Prevention Officers continue to make a significant impact, arresting another 15 individuals this past week.
  • There were several recent notable convictions:
    • Reginald Ronald Desjarlais, 29, pleaded guilty to robbery with an imitation firearm and was sentenced to four years in jail.
    • Michael Chartrand, 31, pleaded guilty in Brandon provincial court on Monday to theft under $5,000 and resisting arrest. Chartrand was sentenced to 45 days of house arrest followed by one year of probation and $192.02 restitution.
    • Tyrone McPherson pleaded guilty to stealing from 23 different liquor stores a total of 55 times between late 2018 and June 2019. He was sentenced to 7 months in custody.

Week of December 2 – 8 and December 9 - 15

  • We are pleased to report the Winnipeg Police Service and our Loss Prevention team affected 15 more arrests in Liquor Marts these past two weeks.

Week of November 25 – December 1

  • We are pleased to see that both our loss prevention team and other local law enforcement agencies are keeping thieves on their toes with another 12 arrests last week.

Week of November 11-17 and November 18-24

  • Law enforcement agencies across Manitoba and our own team of loss prevention officers continue to put up impressive arrest numbers in the last two weeks; all told, 56 individuals were arrested who have been involved in more than 900 incidents.

The following individuals have been arrested and charged for criminal offenses occurring at Liquor Mart stores. Please note that this list is updated monthly.

50 most recent arrests ( as of January 23, 2020 )

Name  Age Multiple Incidents
Yolanda Theresa Kathy Marie Sinoway 18 Y
Thomas Nelson 27 N
Arthur Traverse 21 Y
Lorissa Helmich 40 Y
Jacyntha Harper 24 N
Shannon Harper 27 Y
Jenny Disbrowe 36 N
Phylissa Williams 18 Y
Mitchell Olson 22 Y
Cheyenne Traverse 27 Y
Amy Hendrichs 39 Y
Nolin Fontaine 27 Y
Harpreet Dhillon 26 Y
Lynette Moar 34 Y
Desiree Boyd 29 Y
Valencia Harper 29 N
Stefan Mckenzie 33 Y
Summer Stefanishyn 19 N
Joey Robertson Lecoy 23 N
Austin Wood 20 Y
Ida Harper 41 Y
John Aymont 36 Y
Marita Mcdougall 37 Y
Marlene Legarde 29 Y
Peter Harrison 64 Y
Tyrell Morrison 41 N
Jody Leblanc 29 N
Lisa catcheway-Kopichanski 44 Y
Dustin Langlois 43 Y
Linette Moar 34 N
Nadine Daniels 28 Y
Terrilee Jarper 27 N
Donovan Walters 48 Y
Rena Campbell 37 Y
Shaun Genaille 27 Y
Maverick Harper 31 Y
Nathan Ertel 30 N
Desiree Loonfoot 22 Y
Nick Langan 35 Y
Quentin Ryan Harper 33 N
Edward Joseph Comber 48 Y
Margaret Beardy 46 Y
Tanya Simmons 41 N
Harry Gibbons 35 N
Abbas Vfaefar 48 Y
Navneet Gill 38 N
Francis Steven Michel West 31 Y
AJ Desmerais 19 Y
Nathaniel Genaille 21 N
Morton D Disbrowe 49 Y




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