Imperial Tobacco Canada applauds federal legislators for step in right direction and encourages provinces to follow suit
MONTREAL, Oct. 15, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - As the country's leading legal tobacco manufacturer, Imperial Tobacco Canada congratulates the Federal Government for taking concrete action against contraband tobacco with the passage of Bill C-10 through the Senate on October 8. The bill creates a new Criminal Code offence of trafficking in illegal tobacco and imposes mandatory minimum imprisonment sentences for repeat contraband offenders.
"This has been a long time coming," said Caroline Ferland, Vice-President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for Imperial Tobacco Canada. "We welcome this acknowledgement on the part of Parliament that contraband tobacco is a serious and growing problem, and one with its roots in organized crime."
The new Criminal Code offence under Bill C-10 targets the trafficking of contraband tobacco through escalating mandatory penalties of imprisonment for repeat offenders where a high volume of tobacco products is involved. The threshold to be considered "high volume" is 10,000 cigarettes or 10 kilograms of other tobacco products.
Untaxed, unregulated contraband tobacco costs governments in Canada more than $2 billion a year in lost revenues. It also has far reaching societal consequences – with small businesses struggling to stay afloat and the safety of Canadian communities continuously threatened by the criminal networks involved in the trafficking of contraband tobacco, many of which are also involved with other gangland activities like weapons and illegal drug trafficking.
While legal tobacco companies in Canada conform to the multitude of government regulations controlling the manufacture, sale and distribution of its products, those involved in the illegal trade operate entirely outside any quality control or age restrictions on the sale of contraband products.
"For many years we have been working to impress upon various levels of government how serious and rampant the illegal trade in tobacco has become in Canada," concluded Ferland. "While much more needs to be done to curtail this activity, which has now spread as far east as Newfoundland and as far west as British Columbia, this is a step in the right direction. We are also hopeful that this might act as a catalyst for provincial governments, namely Ontario, to follow suit and take action to address this criminal activity."
According to the RCMP, there are more than 50 unlicensed tobacco manufacturers operating on Canadian soil, over 300 'smoke shacks' selling tobacco products outside any regulatory framework, and over 175 criminal organizations involved in and profiting from the trafficking of illegal tobacco products in Canada.
SOURCE: Imperial Tobacco Canada
For further information: Media Contact: Sebastien Dolan, Imperial Tobacco Canada, 514-932-6161 ext.2222