BC Small Businesses Call on Premier Eby to Promote Community Safety, Protect Local Retailers

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VANCOUVER, BC, July 11, 2024 /CNW/ – In the leadup to the provincial election, local retailers in communities across British Columbia are calling on Premier Eby to reverse course on rules that benefit unregulated black-market sellers at the expense of corner store retailers trusted in their community.

In February 2024, Premier Eby implemented a request from the federal government to remove nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) from convenience stores, limiting their availability to consultations with pharmacists at drug stores. NRTs are a legitimate smoking cessation product and are strongly recommended by the World Health Organization as a tool to quit tobacco use.

Heavily restricting these products from legal retail locations hurts adult British Columbians looking to quit smoking and makes these products easier for youth to obtain through black market channels.

“At the same time that Vancouver is facing an urgent crime epidemic, Premier Eby and his government are driving consumers to unregulated black-market products, at the expense of local businesses,” said Sara MacIntyre, VP Western Canada, Convenience Industry Council of Canada. “Black market sales often directly benefit organized crime, making our streets less safe. It’s time for the BC government to listen to the voice of small businesses who play by the rules, and stop driving consumers to illegal, unregulated products.”

BC convenience retailers are trusted members of their communities, known for selling age-gated products responsibly including tobacco and lottery tickets. This proposed policy blatantly disrespects their owners and employees.

“Both the federal and provincial governments have no data to support these changes that punish law abiding retailers and fuel the illegal online market. We urge Premier Eby to stand up for British Columbia’s small businesses and instead target the real culprits: organized crime,” added MacIntyre.

The BC government has also raised concerned about youth access to vaping products, yet flavoured products have not been available in convenience stores since July 2020. This is further evidence that young people are accessing these products from illegal sources and not from trusted corner store retailers.

The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) supports additional regulations on NRTs, including marketing restrictions, but opposes place-of-sale infringements. These measures can effectively prevent youth access without unfairly penalizing responsible retailers and limiting adult access to smoking cessation products.

We urge Premier Eby to support small businesses through fair, evidence-based policy.

SOURCE Responsible Retailers, Trusted in Your Community

BC Small Businesses Call on Premier Eby to Promote Community Safety, Protect Local Retailers WeeklyReviewer

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