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Ottawa, May 29, 2015—Today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day:

“We welcome the World Health Organization’s focus on the serious problem of contraband tobacco on this year’s World No Tobacco Day (May 31). Counterfeiting, black market contraband and piracy continue to be enormous problems in Canada, more so than other countries. This criminal activity robs governments and taxpayers of billions in tax revenues, makes tobacco available to minors and damages legal businesses. Caught in the crossfire are small business owners all across Canada.

To ensure action is taken on the important issue of contraband tobacco, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce calls on all provinces to follow the Quebec example and the Federal Government to enforce Bill C-10. Collectively, all levels of government should track and put in place controls for the inflow of acetate tow to the country, as a way to ensure that this key component required for the manufacture of all cigarette filters is not used to fuel the contraband market.

The province of Quebec has been able to bring contraband levels down from 40% in 2008 to an estimated 15% today. The success factors in Quebec included the political and police forces collaborating and acting together, as well as allowing municipal police forces to investigate and prosecute contraband tobacco offences, with proceeds of crime being kept by the city. This keeps law enforcement organizations close to the problem and gives them the tools they need to address it in an effective and timely manner. Other provinces across Canada should think about replicating Quebec’s approach.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauds the government of Canada for recent legislative changes to address this problem – the Combating Counterfeit Products Act and the Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act - and we encourage governments to dedicate additional resources to the enforcement of these new measures.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

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G. Will Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce