Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

April 23, 2013 09:30 ET

In Advance of Ontario Budget, Study Shows Voters Concerned About Contraband Tobacco

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 23, 2013) - In the weeks leading up to the Ontario 2013 Budget, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) has conducted a public opinion survey regarding contraband tobacco.

The survey, conducted by Abacus Data, shows that Ontarians are growing increasingly concerned about contraband tobacco.

  • Forty one (41%) of Ontarians believe that contraband tobacco is a problem, particularly those living in Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Ontario
  • Seventy five (75%) of Ontarians surveyed agree that increasing tobacco taxes will lead to an increase in the use of contraband tobacco. Furthermore, Ontarians overwhelmingly agree that raising taxes on tobacco will cause an increase in the smuggling of contraband tobacco into the province.
  • More than seventy (70%) of Ontarians recognize the potential effects from increased use of contraband tobacco to government revenues, organized crime, and youth corruption

"We have spent the last year engaging Ontarians through our municipal anti-contraband campaign, and the results of this survey are certainly in line with what we have heard around the province," says OCSA CEO Dave Bryans. "People are concerned and rightfully so."

Over 40% of Ontario's population are represented by municipal councils who have passed motions asking the Ontario Minister of Finance to follow through on budgetary commitments made in the 2012 provincial budget. To date, these commitments have not been met.

The OCSA has also recently launched an in-store awareness campaign to engage customers about the dangers of contraband; specifically, the impact of contraband on public safety, the increase in youth access to illegal tobacco products, and the loss of government revenue from illegal tobacco sales.

According to the Auditor General, contraband tobacco is costing the Ontario government $500 million annually. Through additional enforcement, the government can recoup this lost revenue and achieve their goal of balancing Ontario's books.

"The opinions of Ontarians when it comes contraband tobacco are clear. In advance of next week's budget, we encourage Finance Minister Sousa and Ontario government to follow through on its commitments against contraband tobacco," concluded 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

  • Lindsay Doyle or Katlyn Harrison