TORONTO, ON – December 11, 2017 – The Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association (OKBA), the largest organization of independent convenience stores in the province, released a statement today saying that it applauds the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party of Ontario for its recently announced campaign pledge to fight contraband tobacco.

The pledge, included in the party’s “People’s Guarantee” campaign platform, promises to “expand the Provincial OPP Enforcement Team to combat contraband tobacco to include local police forces, and give those forces the necessary tools to fight contraband tobacco.”

The policy also calls on the government to “increase powers to fight contraband tobacco, including allowing for proper search and seizure, and ensuring that all municipal police forces are integrated into the fight against contraband tobacco.” It further calls for the ability of municipal police forces to share “in the proceeds of crime revenues” seized from illegal tobacco manufacturers.

According to OKBA, more and more convenience stores across Ontario will close without strong and effective action on the part of the Ontario government to combat contraband tobacco. The association says that over the last 10 years more than 500 OKBA members have closed down their businesses as a result of the ever-worsening business environment in Ontario, much of which has been driven by the rampant spread of contraband tobacco.

“The OKBA has been the leading force behind the ‘Save Our Stores’ campaign launched in August of this year,” says Don Cha, OKBA General Manager. “We have been communicating our concerns on the five critical issues impacting our businesses and contraband tobacco is at the top of that list.”

Adds Cha: “We are happy the Ontario PC Party has taken notice of our issues and is pledging to do something meaningful on contraband tobacco if it is elected. We certainly hope the other two major parties will follow their lead.”

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Don Cha

General Manager, OKBA