The NSLC outlet on Wyse Road in Dartmouth. Photo: Halifax Examiner

In a report released today, Nova Scotia’s auditor general says for a corporation that sold $726.2 million worth of alcohol last year and made $247.3 million in profit, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation ought to have written policies governing the products it selects and advertises in its locations across the province.

“For a corporation this size, we expected to find policies and processes to show that important decisions are made and supported in a consistent manner,” Nova Scotia’s auditor general Kim Adair-MacPherson said in a video about the report. “Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation does not have clear policies and procedures in place to determine what products it sells and promotes, or how to price its merchandise, or where to display it in stores … [For suppliers], the product listing decisions can have a direct impact on sales and overall success.”

These comments will probably come as no surprise to local craft brewers and distillers who have negotiated with the NSLC to provide shelf space for their products, or to restaurant owners who have pleaded with the crown corporation to bring in wines popular with their customers.

The 22-page audit also found that NSLC lacks formal job descriptions for several managers in its customer strategy division, which is responsible for implementing, overseeing, and improving the product selection business. Without proper job descriptions, the auditor general said it would be difficult for the board of directors to hold employees accountable for their decisions or performance.

The report did find the NSLC has adequate control over its physical inventory, such as beer, spirits, and cannabis it distributes, and appropriate processes for damaged and expired products.

The report includes 11 recommendations, including developing written policies to support decisions around product selection. The full report can be found at www.oag-ns.ca


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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

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