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CICC welcomes Ontario budget actions that support convenience store industry

Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 3.13.40 PMThe new Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) is applauding actions taken by the Ontario government in its maiden budget, which it says will result in red tape reductions, lower business costs and put consumers first across Ontario.

In a statement, the Council also welcomed measures designed to address regulatory burdens in the small business sector and spur growth and investment across the province.

“Ontario’s beverage alcohol policies are moving into the 21st century.”

“Small businesses welcome the message in today’s budget: Ontario’s beverage alcohol policies are moving into the 21st century,” says Anne Kothawala, president & CEO of the CICC. “As the organization representing convenience store retailers, distributors and other members of the supply chain, we are excited to help make expanded beverage alcohol sales in our Ontario stores a reality.

“We know consumers want expanded beverage alcohol sales; 74 percent of alcohol consumers say they support expanded sales,” she says, adding this was one of the findings in a new poll conducted by Abacus Data for the CICC.

The CICC highlighted a number of measures in Ontario’s budget, which it says are designed to reduce red tape and costs for businesses, including:

  • a reduction in WSIB premiums;
  • accelerating the 25 percent red tape reduction to 2020;
  • holding the minimum wage to $14/hour and tying future increases to inflation;
  • reaffirming its commitment to cutting the small business tax rate.

The Council says other measures in Budget 2019 also bode well for the convenience store industry, including breaking down interprovincial trade barriers between Ontario and Quebec.

“Our retailers have considerable experience in Quebec, and we are pleased to see Ontario’s leadership in working with our neighbouring province to grow trade,” says Kothawala.

Lastly, the industry welcomed the commitment to press the federal government to legalize single sport wagering in Canada.

“We commend this government for treating adults like adults and trusting our retailers to responsibly sell lottery and beverage alcohol to our adult customers,” says Kothawala , adding: “Overall, our sector is very pleased with today’s budget which recognizes the importance of our businesses and the contributions we make to communities across the province. We look forward to working with the government in the coming weeks and months to ensure small businesses continue to be heard and that these policies come to fruition as quickly as possible.”