The Pub and Bar Coalition of Ontario (PUBCO)

Mission Statement: To effectively represent and protect the interests of the pub and bar industry in the province of Ontario

PUBCO was conceived when the new City of Ottawa decided to push through a by-law prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants throughout the city. This bylaw was developed and introduced within a period of little over three months and with no meaningful consultation with business owners in the city.

Some individuals, on hearing of the proposals, immediately contacted professional organizations of which they were members to seek assistance in their fight for survival. Such pleading fell on deaf ears.

The Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) had a split within their membership as to how to address the situation. Many of their membership thought that a ban on smoking in Restaurants was a fine idea, indeed many big chains of family type restaurants had already chosen to adopt a nonsmoking policy, as this is what the majority of their particular clientele. No smoking was also more profitable, for these businesses, requiring less cleaning, burn repairs and no requirement for expensive ventilation systems.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business ...Same story.

Many individuals contacted their Councilors, and even the Mayor, but their concerns fell on deaf ears and it soon became evident that the fix was in. The official Committee Hearings and the public meetings leading up to it were a farce. The anti-tobacco industry had taken control of the agenda and it was blatantly evident that the Committee, together with the Council at large had already decided the fate of Ottawa pub and bar owners. Without considering the evidence available, and with no thought towards reasonable compromise, they were prepared to condemn hundreds of honest tax paying small business owners, their families and thousands of employees to a future of uncertainty, job deprivation and, for many, financial ruin.

The seriousness of their plight soon became apparent to bar owners throughout the City. They had been cast to the wolves and had absolutely no one to speak on their behalf.

It was this mutual threat to their livelihoods that spurred the conception of PUBCO, a Coalition to fight the imposition of an unfair regulation on an industry that had no unified voice. Had PUBCO been in existence at the time the by-law was being developed, there is little doubt that the City would not have attempted to impose such a draconian measure on such an important segment of Ottawa's hospitality industry. However, in the absence of any perceived opposition, and egged on by an over zealous Health Department, Council decided to try and force through the most stringent anti-tobacco by-law in Canada.

A small but determined group of individuals decided to band together to fight this issue and their voices were soon heard across the City and the Province. Pub and Bar owners flocked to join the Coalition assisted by increasing members of the public who were similarly appalled by the injustice of the proposal.

Never again will our industry be caught unawares as it was in this instance. PUBCO will fight tooth and nail against this, and every other unjust restriction that government agencies might seek to force on our industry. We do not need an army of bureaucrats telling us how to run our businesses.

Throughout the discussions leading up to the introduction of the prohibition, we were continually assailed with the phrase that it was necessary to have "a level playing field". PUBCO wholeheartedly agrees, but more important than a level playing field is "a fair and legal" playing field. This is what PUBCO is fighting for now, and this is what we shall continue to fight for in the future.

The pub and bar owners of Ontario now have a voice and PUBCO will ensure that such voice is heard.

This is WHO PUBCO is and WHAT PUBCO is fighting for.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU! Pub and Bar owners and the operators of other businesses licensed to sell alcohol within Ontario - this includes restaurants, private clubs and golf courses. We are all in the same boat and we all need to row together.

Don't Delay --- Join PUBCO today, and help us in this fight to maintain Democracy and Freedom of Choice