Ontario convenience stores best at age testing

New results from data obtained from the Ontario Ministries of the Attorney General and Health and Long-Term Care show that Ontario convenience stores consistently sell age-restricted products like tobacco, lottery tickets, alcohol, and vaping products responsibly.

In 2017, 19,822 mystery shopping checks were conducted by public health units in support of the Smoke Free Ontario Act (SFOA), and convenience stores were found to be 95.7% successful at denying sales to those under 19. No other retailer is checked as thoroughly by regulators as convenience stores, and no other retail channel can demonstrate comparable success rates of age verification.

“Convenience stores are responsible community retailers – committed to the highest standards in Ontario. The OCSA is very pleased with these latest results and will always stand behind strict enforcement of responsible retailing practices, especially when it comes to age-verification,” said Dave Bryans, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA).

Ontario Convenience stores best in Age Testing

Retailers have policies and practices in place to make sure age-restricted products stay out of the hands of young people. All Ontario convenience stores abide by a Retailer Code of Conduct which ensures all legal and social obligations are met to keep age-restricted products out of the hands of minors. This demonstrates to the community that convenience stores are responsible businesses and shows the government that the industry is serious about age-verification.

Convenience retailers and staff are also trained in responsible retailing practices. “Our retailers are well-versed in Ontario’s regulations, and are trained in how to properly request ID and what forms of ID are acceptable,” said Bryans.

Ontario’s convenience stores are a strong partner of government, selling 75 per cent of all lottery tickets worth $2.55 billion, and operating many of Ontario’s 219 LCBO Agency Stores in rural and northern communities throughout the province. The OCSA is keen to continue dialogues with government and other stakeholders on how to continually improve age verification practices across all our member stores when it comes to tobacco, lottery, alcohol, e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

Notes About Data

Public Health Unit Inspections are conducted to check compliance of retailers selling tobacco. Convenience stores are the primary retailer of tobacco products. Public Health Unit inspection data is collected via Freedom of Information requests to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Pass rate is calculated from data obtained from the Ministry of the Attorney General on violations of Section 3 of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act: 3. (1) No person shall sell or supply tobacco to a person who is less than 19 years old. 1994, c. 10, s. 3 (1).