Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

April 15, 2014 12:34 ET

Thousands Ask Premier Not to Raise Taxes, Correct Illegal Tobacco

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 15, 2014) - Over 20,000 Ontario voters have asked Premier Kathleen Wynne not to raise taxes on legal tobacco products in the 2014 budget, because of the impact this would have on contraband tobacco.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) launched the "Act Now" postcard campaign one month ago, to educate consumers on the dangers of contraband tobacco and ask that provincial taxes on tobacco products not be increased until the problem is fixed.

"Hundreds of stores were eager to participate in this campaign, not only because of the impact to our business, but because of community safety concerns," said Dave Bryans, CEO of the OCSA. "We've been asking the Ontario government to implement its contraband tobacco enforcement measures for the last three years, and it's clear the public wants to see this happen as well."

In addition to the 20,000 postcards collected, the OCSA has also launched www.stopillegaltobacco.ca, which features information about contraband tobacco as well as a video explaining the impacts of this illegal industry on Ontario's communities.

This campaign follows recent contraband tobacco studies conducted by the OCSA which found illegal tobacco rates as high as 46.6% at certain locations across the province. The provincial average of illegal tobacco usage throughout Ontario was 21%.

According to a Canadian Taxpayers Federation study, over $1 billion is lost in Ontario and federal government taxes because of the illegal tobacco trade. The OCSA repeated information from the 2012 Drummond Report, which noted that $225 million could be saved annually if the Ontario government chose to implement contraband tobacco enforcement measures.

"Ontario voters have spoken loud and clear - they do not want another tax increase, and they do not want to see increased tobacco taxes until the issue of illegal tobacco in Ontario is resolved," concludes Bryans.

Please view our campaign video by clicking this link.

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