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Ontario is finally ready to bust contraband tobacco. Here’s how Quebec did it

11 6 201

Ontario has the unfortunate distinction of leading the country in both the production and sale of contraband tobacco. The effects of these illicit activities are vast and harmful — from a health and safety standpoint to a monetary one. But there are a number of innovative solutions, already tried with success in Quebec, that the Ontario government can implement to combat contraband, and move toward having a safer province.

Contraband tobacco is a problem across the whole country. The RCMP estimates there are 50 illegal cigarette factories and more than 300 smoke shacks operating within Canada. Additionally, according to the RCMP, there are 175 criminal gangs involved in the contraband network, which creates a gateway to other illegal activities including weapons, drugs and human trafficking. These gangs are a byproduct of the contraband tobacco industry and threaten our communities’ safety. Aside from the obvious public safety concerns generated from the industry, there are also severe financial burdens associated with it. A report last year from EY for the Ontario government shows that the province is........

© Financial Post