Ontario is now heading into an election to decide the political party that will lead us over next four years. The last few years have been a rough ride for small businesses through the province and the convenience store industry has seen many new challenges, downloaded costs and disappointments.
The OCSA is not endorsing any particular party or leader but ask our members to ensure they are informed about the issues and encourage all your customers, family members to vote on June 7 in order to have your voices heard.
The OCSA has designed Some key convenience stores issues you might want to discuss with potential candidates during the next couple of months as they ask you for support. I believe it is important that all convenience stores carry the same messages throughout this campaign to ensure that our collective voices are heard:
Election Date: June 7, 2018
Key Convenience Store Issues:
- Contraband Tobacco/Tobacco taxation – today we see illegal tobacco at almost 40% in Ontario and over 60% throughout rural Ontario. Aggressive tobacco taxes are driving our customers to the contraband market and this needs to be addressed by the next government.
- Small business costs – Minimum wage increases and other labour related costs have been implemented too quickly and with little thought for small family-run businesses. This is in addition to the punishing hydro rates that are hurting our business.
- Beer/Wine in Convenience Stores – allowing some big box grocers to carry beer and wine has put all convenience stores at a competitive disadvantage and there is a need to open the beer/wine retailing market (like in Quebec). The LCBO agency model already exists in 216 stores in rural Ontario and time has come to recognize the responsibility the convenience store channel has demonstrated in every community.
- Red Tape/Over Regulation – Our channel is targeted and over regulated by many government agencies and the time has come to revisit this and work together to make life easier for our stores.
- Review lottery commissions – Convenience stores sell 76% of all lottery tickets and are asking for an increase in lottery commissions to offset the inflationary costs of business. Labour, hydro and rent are all going up but lottery commissions have remained the same for 20+ years.