As 2021 ends, I am proud of the many files the OCSA has worked through on behalf of all our members and the support we have received from the manufacturer trade, retail associations, Ontario government, Board members and our retail members.
We continue to work with MPPs as well as the PC Party to instill the confidence of the convenience store channel and how we manage ourselves while working towards a better future for all the hard-working families. The OCSA does not represent large national chains but works passionately for the independents and regional groups on all issues.
Having been declared an essential service industry during Covid-19 allowed us to safely and responsibly serve customers everyday during some of the most difficult times in this country, and I am so proud we could keep the lights on and the doors open.
In 2022 we will represent over 6500 family run stores in Ontario while defining your needs. We will continue to focus on ensuring you are first in line to receive consideration to sell beer/wine in line as promised by Premier Ford’s commitment to small family run stores. There isn’t a file that we will ignore from hydro costs, labour costs, employee’s safety, employee training, gaming, vaping, sugar issues, sodium issues, gas drive offs, cannabis and contraband
During the last year, the Ministry of Finance agreed they would ‘not’ raise the Ontario tobacco taxes until such a time that we could work on correcting or minimizing contraband tobacco. The OCSA is presently working with the Tobacco Strategy Control Group to find solutions that will minimize the contraband market. We are also hoping the Federal government will also freeze price increases or tax increases to also be part of this solution.
Under the new vaping laws, the OCSA has will continue to defend our rights to offer consumers a full line of new and innovative vaping products as the tobacco category continues to shift to perceived safer alternatives.
The OCSA has a strong track record of representing the interests of all products at the government level ensuring we defend your rights to promote, display and sell any/all legal products in our channel. Independent operators are the key to the future in Ontario as they own their businesses and will encourage this government to focus on this sector as we move into new categories like beer/wine.
Today I want to thank all retailers for their ongoing perseverance of ‘zero tolerance’ age testing where we now pass under the Government’s underage mystery shop program at 96.4%. This level of success has made us the most trusted retailer in every community. The OCSA will continue to bring you programs that protect your
businesses in 2022.
Over the years a strong regional association has the respect of this government and we have been invited to the table on all issues affecting the convenience store channel which will continue throughout 2022. We have met with new MPP’s, Chiefs of Staff, Senior Policy advisors, Ministers, and the Premier on several occasions highlighting the strength of the hard-working families and will continue to update you
as we go forward. When the Ontario government passed ‘Convenience Week’ (which will now take place every August) the entire industry and all our hardworking families were given the recognition they deserved.
The 2021/2022 OCSA Board (which is comprised of regional chains and family run independents) will spend time at Queen’s Park highlighting our ability to work with the Ford Administration while securing a better future for all family run stores in Ontario.
I want to thank everyone for their continued support knowing that we are passionate about our mission and wish each of you and your families a happy holiday season and a prosperous and healthy 2021.
Dave Bryans CEO