The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) was disappointed that the recent Ontario budget did not include a comprehensive, holistic solution to the growing threat of illegal tobacco. While the government did announce an increase to the tobacco tax, this increase is just a band aid – while the legal tobacco market will pay it, the increase will do nothing to address the disturbingly high levels of growth seen in the contraband market in recent years.
“Growth in Ontario’s illegal tobacco trade has been enormous, and we fear the situation will only get worse unless action is taken,” said OCSA CEO Dave Bryans.
“This tax hurts Ontario’s convenience stores and will drive more Ontarians into the underground tobacco market. We must do more to address this challenge.”
The OCSA hopes to work with the Ontario government in the near-future so that concrete steps can be taken to tackle this issue directly. In the wake of the budget, more must be done to fight the numerous hazards a growing illegal tobacco trade brings.
The OCSA represents 7,500 convenience store retailers in the province of Ontario. The not-for-profit association is active in advocacy, education, and training for its members, and is engaged in many issues affecting convenience store retailers.