Western Convenience Stores Association

Western Convenience Stores Association

December 09, 2014 16:27 ET

Manitoba Retailers Commend RCMP and Finance Officials for Significant Contraband Bust

Retailers warn of vulnerable border between Ontario and Manitoba as high volumes of illegal tobacco makes its way westward

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Dec. 9, 2014) - The Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA) would like to commend the Manitoba Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit and the Falcon Lake RCMP detachment for their recent investigation that led to a seizure of over 112,000 illegal cigarettes in Manitoba.

"Our retailers will be the first to tell you how much illegal tobacco is impacting their business in Manitoba," says Andrew Klukas, President of the WCSA. "Given the high prices in this province, the cheap illegal tobacco available from Ontario can be highly appealing, particularly for youth."

The WCSA is deeply concerned about the accessibility of untaxed tobacco from Central Canada and its increasing availability throughout Western Canada. Alberta has rates as high as 41.3% with British Columbia as high as 51% in some sites. Manitoba's average rate was 14.7% in the most recent study.

The highest rates of contraband found throughout the West are typically found along the TransCanada highway from Central Canada, a key trafficking route of untaxed, illegal tobacco products.

"We are hopeful that this government will allocate additional resources to address the issue of contraband in Manitoba and consider introducing proactive legislation to prevent future growth," adds Klukas. "Not only does illegal tobacco take necessary funds out of the provincial coffers, it enables unmitigated access to youth due to zero age restrictions."

About the WCSA:

The WCSA advocates on behalf of more than 6,500 retailers throughout Western Canada. These retailers employ more than 40,000 people and contribute over $10 billion in sales to the local economy.

For more information visit www.thewcsa.com.

Contact Information

  • Summa Strategies Canada
    John McHughan