Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

November 26, 2015 17:00 ET

Convenience Store Retailers Pleased With Contraband Enforcement Measures in Fall Economic Outlook

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 26, 2015) - Ontario's convenience store retailers are pleased with additional measures unveiled in the province's Fall Economic Outlook aimed at preventing the growth of the contraband tobacco market in Ontario. They are also reminding the Ontario government that law-abiding convenience store retailers are not those responsible for the persistence of illegal tobacco throughout the province.

"The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) is pleased that Finance Minister Charles Sousa is taking steps to address this underground economy, which hurts the bottom lines of our small businesses and government revenues," said OCSA president Dave Bryans. "Illegal tobacco continues to thrive in Ontario and we welcome any measures that may halt this criminal activity."

The Economic Outlook commits to establishing a contraband tobacco enforcement team through the Ontario Provincial Police, as well as regulation of tobacco product components such as acetate tow. These measures build on those introduced earlier in 2015 to provide additional support for the OPP and regulate raw leaf tobacco.

The Economic Outlook also seeks to develop more cooperation between officials in the Ministry of Finance and local health units, which would allow either official to identify and seize illegal tobacco products found at retail locations. While the OCSA is pleased to see both groups working together, they are reminding the provincial government that their members are not the culprits behind the sale of contraband tobacco.

"Our Association does not condone the sale of illegal, untaxed tobacco products in convenience stores, period" said Bryans. "While we support more enforcement to tackle this illegal trade, Ontarians and government decision-makers must know that our stores are not the source of this problem."

Contraband tobacco is sold without mandated health warnings and without age verification checks, to anyone who is willing to buy. The RCMP estimates that over 70 organized crime groups and gangs are affiliated with the illegal tobacco trade. Increased taxes and regulations drive the tobacco market underground, meaning these products are both more affordable and accessible to youth.

The OCSA will be sharing results from its most recent contraband tobacco survey in early December, and are hopeful that these measures, along with no changes to tobacco taxation or additional regulations, will correct the province's illegal tobacco problems.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Ontario in correcting this important issue for our businesses and communities," said Bryans.

ABOUT THE OCSA

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents more than 7,000 convenience store operators throughout the province who are committed to Responsible Community Retailing. More than 3 million people visit convenience stores in communities across Ontario every day.

Contact Information

  • For further information or to arrange an interview,
    please contact:
    Kate Harrison
    Summa Strategies Canada
    613-235-1400 x 226
    kharrison@summa.ca