REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - Dec. 11, 2013) - The Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA) and its retailers stand with the Canadian Cancer Society and their comments on a recent CBC commissioned mystery shop campaign in Saskatchewan to highlight the issue of youth access to tobacco, and remain firmly against youth having access to any of these products.
"Our retailers recognize the important role we play in terms of preventing youth access, and under no circumstances do we condone the sale of tobacco products to minors," says Andrew Klukas, President of the WCSA.
The Association provides a training program on proper age-testing practices that is free of charge to all convenience store retailers and their employees and is available online. They have also developed a Code of Conduct wherein retailers acknowledge their responsibilities when handling tobacco products to ensure they are not sold to youth.
The WCSA would also like to work closely with the Ministry of Health in Saskatchewan and the Canadian Cancer Society to raise retailer awareness and compliance rates in Saskatchewan.
"We are not satisfied with the rates found in this mystery shop campaign and would support more fulsome efforts to improve compliance in Saskatchewan," adds Klukas. "Retailers should be reminded of their responsibility to ensure vigilance in their age verification practices."
The WCSA has promoted the idea of mystery shop campaigns with the Saskatchewan government but also believes that training and awareness for retailers should be part of the equation.
"High staff turnover rates and the priority to provide expedient service to customers are pressures that retailers regularly deal with however age testing has and will always remain the top priority," concludes Klukas.
About the WCSA
The WCSA is a not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 6,500 convenience store retailers operating throughout Western Canada. These retailers employ more than 40,000 people and contribute over $10 billion in sales to the local economy. Our mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Western Canada by representing the best interests of our members, and the communities they serve.
For more information visit www.thewcsa.com.