The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) cheered the recently passed Budget Measures Act that cracks down on 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 also recognized efforts from the Ministry of Finance to increase information sharing and compliance efforts with local Public Health Units.
While the OCSA noted it was pleased with the Government’s commitment to tackling contraband tobacco, it also emphasized disappointment with the recent ban on menthol tobacco products as part of Bill 45, moving more customers to the illegal market in Canada. “We want to work with the Ontario Government to address youth tobacco consumption in a way that will have a lasting impact on behavior. We look forward to continuing this dialogue.”
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents more than 7,000 convenience store operators throughout the province who are committed to Responsible Community Retailing.