Lobby Day 2016

C-Store Members Lobby for Industry Awareness and Impact

On February 23, 2016, 40 retailers and distributors from across Canada met with MP’s in Ottawa to discuss the matters that affect our industry. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness about the economic impact of convenience stores to the Canadian economy and to address federal regulatory issues influencing the industry. The event also served as an opportunity to show parliamentarians the size and scope of our industry, including family-owned independent distributors and retailers as well as national and international players.

From the impact of over regulation, to tobacco plain packaging initiatives, to grey market products, to credit card fees, elected officials heard from member representatives on our key issues.

Over-Regulation: One of the most highly regulated industries, the annual cost for compliance in Canada is $267 million. MP’s heard the message loud and clear that all regulation must be evidence based and that regulatory burden negatively impacts businesses surviving with razor thin margins.

Plain packaging in tobacco: Data shows that implementing plain packaging has had no effect on smoking rates and has increased the consumption rate of illicit tobacco products. When shown a map of Canada with rates of contraband, most MP’s were very surprised to learn about high rates. They recognized that this also created a loss in tax revenue for government.

Grey Market Confectionery: A significant quantity of grey market confectionery products are entering the market place and resulting in health and safety hazards for consumers. Several MP’s were unaware that some products manufactured in Canada are manufactured by different companies in the US where standards are different, which has the potential to create serious health issues, especially for consumers with allergies.

Lobby Day 1Reports back from the hill indicate the impact of convenience stores was evident among MP’s. As a major collector of federal taxes, supporter of small business owners and contributors to a sense of community, the c-store industry is appreciated at the federal level.

Government tax collection: As partners with the federal government, distributors and retailers facilitate the tax collection on the legal sale of tobacco, fuel and other taxed products

Small business owners: Convenience stores and retailers are the heart and soul of small business and are often family owned businesses.

Community builders: The local convenience store is a pillar of a community, bringing neighbors together and offering convenience in the area. It was also recognized that many convenience store owners and staff are new Canadians, and that the industry was playing an essential role in offering opportunities to newcomers.

Photo Reference – Image 1: Anne Kothawala, NACDA President, Sonia Sindu, MP Brampton South, Andrew Docherty, Suncor. Image 2: Anne Kothawala, NACDA President, Andrew Docherty, Suncor, Adam Vaughan, MP Spadina-Fort York, Noah Aychental, Gateway Newstands.