Canadian Convenience Stores Association

Canadian Convenience Stores Association

November 27, 2012 11:00 ET

Communities Call for Action on Contraband Tobacco

Close to Half of the Population of Ontario and Quebec Express Concern over Contraband Tobacco Trade

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 27, 2012) - The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), joined by their regional counterparts, were on Parliament Hill today in Ottawa to meet with parliamentarians and address the issue of contraband tobacco.

Over the last six months, 40% of Ontario and Quebec residents via their municipal governments passed motions against contraband tobacco and called on all levels of government to follow through on recent budget allocations of additional resources.

"Our communities are very concerned about the impact that contraband tobacco is having," said Quebec Convenience Stores Association (QCSA) President, Michel Gadbois. "It is time for everyone to come to the table and have a discussion about this very serious public safety issue," added Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA).

According to RCMP intelligence reports, the spread of contraband tobacco results in the growth of an underground, illegal economy with over 175 identified crime groups involved in the trade. Illegal tobacco is sold without age verification checks, which makes it more accessible to young people.

"The Ottawa Board of Health and members of Council, as part of our expanded Smoke-Free Ottawa initiative, made our city one of the first municipalities in Ontario to take the important step of condemning the use and sale of contraband tobacco," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

Communities such as Cornwall, Kingston, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Mississauga, Hamilton and many others also passed similar motions throughout Ontario. In Quebec, hundreds of municipalities joined together against this illegal trade.

The CCSA is also concerned with the cross-border trade in illegal tobacco products. Within the Beyond the Border agreement, there is a joint US-Canada proposal to move the Canadian border crossing that is currently located in Cornwall, ON to Massena, NY.

"The movement of this border is a major concern to our Association," stated Alex Scholten, President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association. "By removing that critical inspection point between Cornwall Island and the mainland, it opens up the opportunity for additional smuggling".

Background: In its pre-budget submission to Minister Flaherty and the Finance Committee, the CCSA asked the Federal Government to follow through on its commitment to hire 50 additional RCMP officers and ask that they be dedicated to the Cornwall area pending the border movement.

Contact Information

  • Katlyn Harrison
    613-235-1400 x 226