OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 21, 2013) - The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is applauding the Harper Government's announcement in the 2013 Budget of additional resources against contraband tobacco. The Federal Budget has allocated $3 million over two years to hire ten additional police officers in First Nations police services to focus specifically on contraband tobacco. This follows a commitment made earlier this month to introduce 50 additional RCMP officers dedicated to the Contraband Tobacco Taskforce, as well as strengthening penalties for repeat contraband offenders.
"We were very pleased to see anti-contraband efforts mentioned in the federal budget," said Alex Scholten, President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association. "Given the current focus on austerity, its inclusion makes it clear that tackling this illegal industry remains a priority for the Harper government."
The CCSA had been actively working with Federal parliamentarians and the RCMP to communicate the impact that the dedication of additional officers, and increased penalties will have on tackling contraband tobacco. Both the additional RCMP officers and introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for contraband offences were recommendations made in the Association's 2013 pre-budget submission.
"Contraband tobacco poses a serious threat to community safety in all regions of Canada, through its ties to organized crime as well as the accessibility of illegal tobacco by minors. This announcement shows that the government is dedicated to rectifying this serious public safety issue," said Scholten.
"We look forward to the implementation of these measures as they will make a significant impact on our retailers across Canada."