Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada

May 07, 2008 11:55 ET

Minister Day Announces an Action Plan to Help Stop the Trade of Illicit Tobacco by Criminal Organizations

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 7, 2008) - The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today joined RCMP Assistant Commissioner Raf Souccar to announce that the Government of Canada is taking action to stop the trade of illicit tobacco in Canada by criminal organizations, by launching the RCMP Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy, as well, a new government task force .

The new strategy will help law enforcement to reduce the availability and demand for contraband tobacco by:

- Dismantling manufacturing facilities;

- Disrupting distribution supply lines; and

- Seizing illicit tobacco and the related proceeds generated by organized crime.

In addition, the government will continue to work closely with those Canadians who have been deeply affected by this illicit trade of tobacco, including tobacco growers and their communities.

"Tobacco trafficking and organized crime often go hand in hand, resulting in other dangerous crimes, such as gun violence and drug smuggling", said Minister Day. "This strategy is a good first step that will significantly diminish the proceeds of organized crime groups involved in the contraband tobacco trade. Our Government supports this initiative, which will enhance our ongoing efforts to keep our communities safe and secure."

The illicit tobacco trade presents a serious threat to public safety in Canada. Over 100 criminal organizations are currently known to be involved in the illicit tobacco trade. Profits from illegal tobacco products fund other criminal activities, such as drug and gun trafficking. The rise of organized criminal activity in the contraband tobacco market threatens the safety of all Canadians. The RCMP Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy is an important tool to crack down on organized crime to keep guns, drugs and other illegal substance off our streets.

"Targeting criminal organizations will have the greatest impact on disrupting all levels of illicit operations," said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Raf Souccar. "The Strategy, however, is about much more than enforcement. Making a long-term impact requires several key steps, particularly public education. Raising awareness of the tobacco black market and the consequences of purchasing the products is essential to reducing demand."

As part of the Government of Canada's approach to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products, Minister Day instructed officials with the Department of Public Safety to lead a government task force with departments and agencies involved in tackling this issue. These departments include the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Revenue Agency, Finance Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada and Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Its mandate is to identify concrete measures that will disrupt and reduce the trade in contraband tobacco.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
    Minister of Public Safety
    Melisa Leclerc
    Director of Communications
    Public Safety Canada
    Media Relations