The union representing 7,000 Beer Store employees is launching an advertising blitz warning of job losses, price increases and a reported $1 billion penalty if Premier Doug Ford expands the sale of booze to corner stores.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union’s 30-second radio ads suggest the government’s priorities are out of step with the province’s needs and taxpayer money would be better spent on health and education rather than contract break fees.

“Premier Ford could spend a billion dollars shutting down the Beer Store, laying off 7,000 hardworking employees just to get beer in corner stores,” one commercial warns. “That’s a billion dollars that could be spent on schools and students, to end hallway healthcare and to keep school breakfast programs intact.”

The Ford government and the owners of the Beer Store are locked in closed-door renegotiations over the master framework agreement which expires in 2025.

The agreement, signed by the previous Liberal government in 2015, gives the Beer Store a monopoly over the sale and distribution of beer while allowing beer to be sold in up to 450 grocery stores.

Ford has promised to bring beer and wine to 7,500 convenience stores across the province and tasked special advisor Ken Hughes with tackling the change.

Sources within the beer industry confirm to CTV News Toronto that the government could have to pay hundreds of millions in breakage fees if the contract is breached before 2025.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Vic Fedeli called the claims over the costs “ridiculous”

“It would be premature and irresponsible to speculate or make assumptions about the results of our on-going consultations and discussions,“ said Robert Gibson.