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OCSA encourages member involvement

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For more information and industry updates from the OCSA, check out the March 2013 CONVENIENCE CONNECT newsletter.

We might only be a few months into 2013, but already it’s shaping up to be a busy year for the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. OCSA president Dave Bryans believes it’s important to promote member involvement and participation and says, “We are at a crossroads in our industry. You are either stopped or moving.”

To get members moving and involved in the fight, it’s important to first understand the issues. Here’s a quick update on some of the OCSA’s current files:

Contraband tobacco

The OCSA attributes 2-3 store closures per day to the growing problem of contraband tobacco. It’s a serious issue that is threatening the channel, as well as provincial tax revenues and the province’s youth, who can easily purchase these products without ID.

On March 5, 2013, the Harper government announced it would introduce greater enforcement and penalties for those trafficking contraband tobacco. “ … The additional RCMP officers, coupled with the increased penalties will hopefully have a significant impact in deterring contraband tobacco traffickers, who threaten the safety of Ontarians,” says Bryans.

Working with its members, the OCSA continues to conduct the Communities Against Contraband Tobacco campaign, which asks municipal councils to support a motion for further action on contraband tobacco. So far, 43% of Ontarians are represented by municipalities that have passed these motions.

Free our Beer

The association is currently in the midst of the Free Our Beer 2013 petition campaign that aims to collect 1,000,000 signatures in support of opening up the alcohol retailing system across the province.

The association is calling on c-store retailers to get involved, and the goal is to have 2,000 c-stores collecting 500 signatures over the six-week campaign period. Once the record number of signatures is collected, the aim is to deliver them to Queen’s Park in Toronto.

Visit freeourbeer.ca for more information about the petition.

Bill 12, Jayesh’s Law

Bill 12 (Worker Safety at Service Stations) concerns the ongoing issue of fuel theft and drive-off safety.

Some OCSA members have adopted the pre-pay method, but the association is concerned that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for everyone. Unfortunately, mandatory pre-pay does not take into account the impact of lost sales on small businesses in the province.

However, employee safety should always be top of mind, and it’s important for OCSA members to advocate for greater police involvement in fuel theft incidents. They must also train their employees to avoid interference in suspected gas-and-dash scenarios.