Liquor board workers in Ontario have been order­ed to stop accepting freebies from the big distilleries and breweries.

For years, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has allowed its employees to accept free tickets to hockey games, concerts, curling matches and stage shows from the companies that supply their stores with liquor, beer and wine.

But tough new rules imposed by the Ontario government have ended the gravy train, forcing workers to refuse the hundreds of ticket offers they once accepted. The ban was imposed last August, and the agency issued revised guidelines to its workers in March this year.

An internal report estimates that no-charge tickets represented about a third of all the supplier-paid benefits enjoyed by a key group of employees. The rest were mostly business meals, which are still allowed.

The report also found that the official forms employees are required to file when they accept freebies are too often vague and incomplete.