OCSA Newsletter - 2015 Vol. I

Published: Mon, 03/02/15

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Convenience Connect: 2015 Vol. I
Included in this newsletter you will find...
  • Bill 45 wants to ban menthol tobacco, you can fight back
  • Study shows increase in contraband usage 
  • Disability Act, Race Is On Gala, Bill C-10 and more...

Provincial Bill Set to Ban Sale of Menthol Tobacco

The introduction of Bill 45, including a ban on flavoured and menthol tobacco products, could have a significant impact on licensed retailers, studies say. Though the intention of the bill may have originally been to discourage underaged users from consuming such products, it may only make the contraband market seem that much more appealing.


The Ontario Convenience Store Association suggest that there may be a better way of handling the issue, one that could have a far more substantive effect at curbing youth consumption all without empowering the illicit market.


In the event of outright banning flavoured tobacco products, consumers could and would simply look else where. Over 43% of individuals surveyed said that they would consider other means of acquiring their tobacco products in the event that their products were forbidden. That, paired with the general rise in contraband cigarettes, could shift consumers away from the heavily monitored retailing process, toward the untaxed, unregulated black market.

What the OCSA proposes to the government, if the province truly wants to curb youth tobacco usage, is to tweak the laws surround how minors are handled. Nearly 90% of Ontarians believe that it is illegal for a minor to purchase tobacco. In reality, it’s illegal for a business to sell to a minor. The discrepancy allows for a significant portion of underaged tobacco consumers to go unchecked.

Imposing fines for purchasing tobacco, handling tobacco for another individual and even consuming tobacco in public could serve as a far more effective deterrent to youth smoking than simply forcing them to acquire their products through other means. What’s more, over 80% of individuals polled already support such legislation, with only 10% opposing.

With pressure from retailers and the electorate, the Ontario government could reconsider their stance on flavoured tobacco. If the priority is to limit the number of minors consuming tobacco, it may be their best option.

Take A Stand Against The Menthol Ban
The OCSA needs your help to fight back against the proposed menthol ban. Engage customers with our latest campaign. Spread awareness through the provided stickers and literature.

Contraband Usage Climbs In Ontario

A two-year study measuring the usage of contraband cigarettes has raised awareness on the impact that the illegal market is having on tobacco sales in Ontario. More and more smokers are turning to unbranded and untaxed alternatives, leaving licensed retailers with a smaller share of the market.


The OCSA Contraband Tobacco Ontario Study collected nearly 20,000 samples of data between 2013 and 2014, comparing the percentage of illegal butts found at various sites throughout the province. In just one year, the relative presence of contraband increased over 7% from what it was in the first year of the study.


In total, a concerning quarter of all cigarette butts throughout Northern and Southern Ontario were found to be illegitimate, with rates in Eastern Ontario (22.4%) and Toronto (17%) slightly better.

Convenience Stores...
  • Contribute over $5.5 Billion in tax revenue to the province every year.

  • Serve over 2.7 Million customers every day.

OCSA Presents to Finance and Economic Committee

CEO of the OCSA, Dave Bryans, spoke to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs last month, campaigning for support liberating the beer and wine markets as well as stricter laws regarding youth and tobacco.

1) Beer and wine products have been responsibly sold in convenience stores elsewhere in Canada, Bryans reminded the committee, and over two thirds of Ontarians would like to see a similar approach taken here. The commercial benefits for small business, combined with the potential government revenue associated with increased sales, makes a compelling case for reform.

2) Meanwhile, the OCSA has suggested additions to the existing Smoke-Free Ontario Act, including an amendment that would make it illegal for persons under nineteen years of age to possess, consume or even attempt to purchase tobacco products. "This is an initiative heavily supported by the public," Bryans added, "As 80% of Ontarians agree with a new law to make consumption of tobacco illegal for minors."

Ten Years of Ontario Disability Act

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and progress across the province bodes well. Convenience stores in Ontario have risen to the challenge, empowering citizens with access to goods and services, and have shown no signs of slowing down.

As the percentage of the population living with disabilities increases, a business’ ability to offer a wholly accessibly customer experience remains of the utmost importance.

As of January 1, 2015, small businesses are encouraged to establish staff-wide policies to ensure that all personal accessibility goals are met and also to pay special attention to the accessibility of self-service kiosks located in-store.

By 2016, it’s expected that all staff are trained on Ontario’s accessibility laws and that feedback processes (surveys, comment cards, etc.) are made accessible.

Bill C-10 - New Contraband Penalties

The much anticipated Bill C-10, an amendment to the existing criminal code, received Royal Assent in January and is one step closer to officially taking effect. Originally introduced in 2013, the bill will reprioritize how federal law handles contraband tobacco, with the idea being that new minimum penalties of five years imprisonment for repeat offenders will dissuade individuals from taking part in the illicit trade.

The amendment will mark the first time that there will be a specific offense pertaining to contraband tobacco and penalties will include up to five years imprisonment. Considering its link to organized crime in Ontario, proponents of the bill are pleased to see a more heavy-handed approach taken against contraband violations.

The law will be made official when it is signed by the Governor General.

The Race Is On

Gala Tickets Available Online

For the 12th year in a row, the convenience store industry will come together for its annual gala. This year the celebration will be held at Woodbine Entertainment Centre in Toronto. Enjoy a five-star dining experience, complete with the chance to participate in the greatest retail networking event of the season.

Couche Tard President and CEO Brian Hannasch will serve as the guest speaker for the evening, offering insight on how convenience stores can work toward offering a better customer experience.

Register for tickets ($500 per seat) online at OntarioCStores.ca and join the community of over 300 like-minded OCSA members eager to strengthen their businesses and the industry in general.

Register for Con. U Today
  • Network with suppliers and other members of industry
  • Engage with products and brands
  • Participate in educational workshops and sessions
March 10-11, 2015
The International Centre in Toronto, ON
Use promotional code 'OCSA'.
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