TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Jim Flaherty and the Conservative government in Ottawa have increased the federal tax on cigarettes by nearly 25%, opening the door to an expansion of the illegal cigarette market across Canada.
Yesterday's budget imposed an immediate increase of $4.03 a carton of cigarettes. Starting today, Canadians will pay over $21 per carton on federal taxes alone.
The Ontario Korean Business Association urges provincial governments not to make the same mistake and hurt small businesses across the country.
The only bright spot in the federal budget was a commitment to increase efforts to fight contraband.
The federal government committed to $91.7 million over four years to improve the RCMP's capacity to fight illegal tobacco. The funding would allow the RCMP to increase their intelligence efforts and improve technology to detect contraband activities. The federal government has made similar commitments in the last three years, but have not followed through. The OKBA will remain vigilant to see that the funding increases are implemented this time, and effective measures - like those seen in Quebec - are put into place.
"The commitment to increase resources for the fight against contraband is even more necessary given the large tax increase. The experience in Quebec shows that, with proper measures and the political will the fight against contraband can succeed. We urge the federal and other provincial governments to follow suit," stated Hyuk Byung Kwon, President of the OKBA
The Ontario Korean Business Association represents over 1,500 convenience stores in Ontario. By law, they must ask for ID from those purchasing cigarettes. This helps keep cigarettes out of the hands of children.
SOURCE: Ontario Korean Businessmen's Association
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