OAKVILLE, ON, March 30, 2012 /CNW/ - Encouraged by the 2012 Ontario provincial budget measures aimed at reducing several aspects of the trade in illegal and under-taxed tobacco, members of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) applauded the McGuinty government for taking some substantial new steps.
"Convenience stores, and the neighbourhoods we operate in across Ontario, have been dealing with the worsening negative effects of illegal tobacco sales for years. The culture of lawlessness that has arisen around this trade continues to harm small businesses and our neighbourhoods," said Dave Bryans, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Convenience Stores Association.
"It's very refreshing to see the Ontario government make clear commitments about what it's going to do to tackle this problem and we congratulate them on taking action," added Bryans. "The government's commitment to public education on this issue is particularly important as it is an area where we've tried to assist for some time. Convenience stores see 2 million Ontarians every day and can play an important part in helping Ontario battle this ongoing problem. Our members are eager to help the government in their efforts and look forward to working alongside them."
OCSA members were particularly pleased to see specific measures discussed in the budget, including doubling enforcement efforts to address the supply of cheap, illegal tobacco, and introducing amendments to the Tobacco Tax Act in the fall to:
- increased fines for those convicted of offences related to illegal tobacco;
- impounding vehicles used to transport illegal tobacco;
- forfeiture of items seized as evidence of a contravention of the Tobacco Tax Act;
- authorizing a vehicle to be stopped, detained and searched if there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that it contains raw leaf tobacco and, if there has been a contravention, to seize that tobacco;
- replacing Ontario's yellow tear tape with the federal stamp; and,
- adopting best practices that have proven to be effective in other provinces.
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