Self-defence and defence of property legislation - Retailers welcome the enhanced flexibility provided by the Federal government

TORONTO, June 28, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) strongly supports the changes to the citizen's arrest provisions of the Criminal Code that are expected to receive Royal Assent today as Federal Justice Minister, Robert Nicholson, announced yesterday. These modifications will prevent victims of shoplifting or theft such as convenience store retailers from becoming re-victimized when they attempt to make a citizen's arrest within a reasonable time after their property has been taken, as illustrated by the case of Mr. David Chen, a Toronto-based retailer who ended up being charged after detaining a shoplifter.

"We do not want to see hard-working small business owners treated as Mr. Chen was. The enhanced flexibility provided by the new law is a needed and timely adjustment and a very welcomed development" said Alex Scholten, CCSA President.

In a 2007 member survey conducted by the Retail Council of Canada, the mean retail shrink rate (the measurement of losses due to store theft and fraud) reported by respondents amounted to 1.54% of total net sales. With total C-store industry sales of $33.8 billion in 2010, this would equate to losses of more than $500 million for Canadian convenience stores.

Given that it is often a matter of their economic survival, retailers will protect their property from being stolen by taking matters into their own hands and making a citizen's arrest and detaining a shoplifter until police arrive if they have no other satisfactory alternative.

"As an association, we do not encourage convenience store owners or their employees to take the law into their own hands. The police must be the first line of defence. However, we recognize that the police are not available at every street corner and shoplifting is certainly not a high priority offence for them," said Scholten, "and that is why the enhanced flexibility offered by the new citizen's arrest provisions is viewed positively by retailers. It provides them with enhanced rights to protect their property when police support is not readily available."

The CCSA represents the economic interests of over 25,000 convenience stores located in every community in Canada serving Canadians for all their daily needs. CCSA has developed a basic mission to improve the industry business environment as well as promote corporate social responsibility under the "Responsible Retail Training" program. CCSA works to promote and foster professional business practices, standards and ethics throughout the C-Store industry and provides training, education and guidance to its members.


For further information:

Guy Leroux, Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)

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