OTTAWA, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband
Tobacco (NCACT) is pleased that the province of Ontario is committing
to further action against illegal cigarettes.
"There is more contraband tobacco in Ontario than any other province,
and it is important that government take concrete and meaningful action
to address this problem" said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the
Toronto Police Service and national spokesperson for the NCACT.
"Illegal cigarettes have serious social consequences. Their low cost -
a 'baggie' of 200 cigarettes often costs less than a movie ticket -
combined with the fact that contraband dealers don't check ID, make
illegal cigarettes a prime source for youth smoking. Illegal cigarettes
are a cash cow for organized crime, with the RCMP estimating that about
175 criminal gangs use the trade to finance their other activities,
including guns, drugs and human smuggling."
The budget reaffirms the province's recent willingness to consider
enhanced anti-contraband measures as outlined in the 2012 budget. These
include increased fines for those convicted of illegal tobacco
offences, forfeiture of items seized as evidence of a contravention of
the Tobacco Tax Act, and other measures. The NCACT has encouraged Ontario to adopt measures
similar to those successfully introduced in Quebec. There, municipal
police forces are able to investigate and prosecute contraband tobacco
offences, even allowing municipalities to keep proceeds. The NCACT is
also pleased that the government is exploring collaborative pilot
projects with First Nations communities to implement long-lasting
"Ontario has taken important first steps against contraband tobacco
through measures introduced in 2011, including greater monitoring of
raw leaf tobacco, a uniform federal/provincial stamp, and fines for
possession of illegal cigarettes," said Grant. "But more can still be
done. By introducing meaningful new anti-contraband measures, law
enforcement officials in Ontario will have much greater ability to
investigate, arrest and prosecute the criminals involved in this trade.
Greater enforcement has a clear impact on Ontario's bottom line: a
report from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates that the
federal and provincial governments lose as much as $1.1 billion a year
in tax revenues to Ontario's illegal cigarette trade."
"The actions in this budget are an important first step, but it is
important that commitments quickly become action," concluded Grant. "We
look forward to working with the government and other stakeholders in
the coming months to do just that. Working together to address
contraband tobacco, we can hurt organized crime, keep cigarettes out of
the hands of our kids, and increase provincial revenues."
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy
group formed with the participation of businesses, organizations and
individuals concerned about the growing danger of contraband
cigarettes. NCACT members share the goals of working together to
educate people and urge government to take quick action to stop this
The members of the NCACT include: Canadian Convenience Stores
Association (CCSA), Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Taxpayers
Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, National
Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, Frontier Duty Free Association, Flue-Cured Tobacco
Growers, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Conseil
du Patronat du Québec (CPQ), l'Association des marchands dépanneurs et
épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Toronto Crime Stoppers, National Citizen's
coalition, The Customs & Immigration Union (CIU), the Ontario Chamber
of Commerce, and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
SOURCE: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco
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