Punched Drunk: Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO, 1927-1975

LCBO Surveillance Technologies

Punch Cards, IBM & Statistical Analysis


Surveillance as Liquor Control

The LCBO inherited a strong moral mandate that fused the ideals of temperance with those of moderation — a combination that required the board to strictly monitor and maintain a specific set of moral standards.

Technology and Railways – When the LCBO was created in 1927 the Ontario government brought in personnel that had worked in the railway industry. This was done because these individuals had learned the necessary accounting skills, and were knowledgeable about the technologies needed to track, assess and investigate the movement of goods from a centralized location. (Read More)

D.B. Hanna – Having served first as operations manager and accountant with the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) and Canadian Northern Railway Company (CNRC), later as president of the Canadian Northern Railway Service (CNRS) and the Canadian National Railway (CNR), D.B. Hanna was selected to develop the LCBO’s regulations and surveillance system. (Read More)

Control Mandate – In response to temperance and moderation influences the LCBO was founded with a strong mandate to control drinking in the province and to eliminate all instances of alcohol abuse. (Read More)