VANCOUVER, BC, Dec. 12, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – The Convenience Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities (RA4SC) welcomes Premier Eby’s new cabinet and looks forward to working together to address the growing and serious problem of illegal tobacco trafficking in British Columbia.
British Columbia’s independent convenience store operators wish to work directly with the newly appointed Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy to help educate, create awareness, and collaborate on putting fourth solutions to end illegal tobacco trafficking in B.C.
Every year, illicit trade robs British Columbians of millions of dollars in provincial tax revenue. It is clear that money could go to improving the lives of British Columbians, especially during a cost of living crisis, by funding much needed social programs such as housing initiatives and childcare accommodations.
The “Speak up for Our Stores” campaign, led by the Convenience Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities, continued today at Royston Mini-Mart, a convenience store located in Royston, BC. The store owner Imi Haji has been in business for 25 years. However, like many other convenience store owners, he is worried about the harmful impacts of contraband tobacco on his community but also his business.
“Illicit tobacco is a major drain on provincial tax revenue and negatively impacts local retailers to the point where we are not even sure if we can stay open in the long-term. The Minister of Finance has a responsibility to take steps to stop the drain and support British Columbians as well as retail store operators.”
The Speak Up for Our Stores Campaign is also asking B.C.’s provincial government to address contraband tobacco in B.C.s upcoming 2023 provincial budget, which is set to be released by the provincial government in February of next year.
- Loss of sales: Every year, lawful and licensed convenient store owners lose out on millions in revenue due to the prevalence of illegal tobacco sales.
- Loss of tax revenue: Illicit trade robs British Columbians of millions of dollars in provincial tax revenue that support B.C. social programs.
- Effects on small business: Convenience store retailers in B.C. are suffering due to the inability to compete with organized crime groups.
- Stronger enforcement and policies needed: Better policies are required to stop contraband tobacco from further devastating convenience retailers and B.C. communities.
- B.C.’s inaction: Other provinces have acted to address the issue of contraband tobacco. It is time the B.C. government act to protect consumers, stores owners, and the safety of our communities.
The Convenience Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities is an advocacy group calling for action against contraband tobacco in British Columbia.
SOURCE Convenience Retailers Alliance