Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

November 17, 2015 11:17 ET

Convenience Store Retailers Welcome Measures in Bill 139 to Address Illegal Tobacco

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 18, 2015) - Ontario's convenience store retailers are welcoming a private member's bill introduced by MPP Todd Smith (Prince Edward-Hastings) which seeks to address illegal tobacco through new measures for policing agencies and a public education campaign on the dangers of contraband.

"The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) is pleased with measures proposed in the Smoke-Free Schools Act that will increase penalties for those caught with illegal tobacco products," said OCSA president Dave Bryans. "Tax evasion through the purchase of contraband is a serious problem for our small businesses, and we are happy to see MPP Smith is keen to address this issue."

In addition to increased fines for contraband tobacco offenders, the Smoke-Free Schools Act will also include a public education campaign on the dangers of tobacco consumption, including illegal tobacco. "Educating young people is critical to reducing the youth tobacco consumption rate even further, and we are happy to support this," said Bryans.

The OCSA has been lobbying the provincial government to support an outright ban on the possession, purchase, and consumption of tobacco by youth. The penalties that would be associated with this would mirror those contained in the Ontario Liquor Control Act. In a public opinion survey conducted in January by the Association, 80% of Ontarians supported a potential ban on tobacco by youth.

"Our retailers are the best at age-testing on restricted products in the province," said Bryans. "While we understand the instinct to further penalize legal retailers who sell to minors, compliance tests show that convenience stores are often not the source of tobacco for minors. We need to make smoking inaccessible and unappealing for young people entirely, and a ban on the possession, purchase and consumption of tobacco by youth would achieve this."

The Association will be releasing its new contraband tobacco rates in Ontario at the beginning of December, which will include rates for many high schools across the province. "Contraband rates continue to remain alarmingly high at high-schools and hospitals in the province," said Bryans. "We look forward to working with any decision-makers who would like to address this illegal activity and curb youth smoking."

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:
    Katlyn Harrison, Consultant
    Summa Strategies Canada
    613.235.1400
    kharrison@summa.ca