The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) and its 7500 retailers are applauding today’s passage of the Budget Measures Act as it reinforces the government’s commitment to fighting contraband tobacco.
“Convenience store retailers are pleased that Finance Minister Sousa is following through on his fall commitment to tackle the underground economy,” said Dave Bryans, CEO of the OCSA. “The Budget Measures Act is a big step forward in the fight against contraband tobacco in Ontario, and we are looking forward to the swift implementation of these measures.”
Specific anti-contraband measures that are a part of the Budget Measures Act include:
- providing resources to the Ontario Provincial Police to address the link between contraband tobacco and organized crime
- giving Ministry of Finance enforcement personnel more powers to pursue compliance
- enabling information sharing under the raw leaf tobacco oversight regime, and
- authorizing a vehicle to be stopped, detained and searched if there are reasonable grounds to believe it contains raw leaf tobacco.
“The Ontario government is thinking outside the box by looking at opportunities to regulate other crucial components to the contraband tobacco trade, such as acetate tow, a key component in cigarette filters. It is great to see Ontario taking a strong stance against the illegal tobacco trade,” said Bryans.
The OCSA is also pleased to recognize efforts from the Ministry of Finance to increase information sharing and compliance efforts with local Public Health Units.
While the OCSA is pleased with the Government’s commitment to tackling contraband tobacco, they also emphasized disappointment with the recent ban on menthol tobacco products as part of Bill 45, moving more customers to the illegal market. “We want to work with the Ontario Government to address youth tobacco consumption in a way that will have a lasting impact on behaviour. We look forward to continuing this dialogue.”
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.