In six of the last eight years, the Ontario government has strengthened enforcement against the illegal manufacture and sale of tobacco products.
The following results have been achieved with improved enforcement:
- From April 1, 2008 to June 30, 2011, about 167 million illegal cigarettes, one million untaxed cigars and 48 million grams of fine-cut tobacco have been seized by ministry investigators and inspectors. One gram of tobacco is equal to about one cigarette.
- Since March 2006, penalties assessed against those violating the Tobacco Tax Act total over $19.7 million.
- During fiscal 2009-10, investigations almost tripled compared to fiscal 2008-09.
- Ministry staff conduct, on average, 450 tobacco retailer inspections each month.
News releases summarizing prosecutions under the Tobacco Tax Act are posted on the Government of Ontario's Newsroom site.
The Ministry of Finance works closely with key partners to address illegal tobacco and strengthen the enforcement of tobacco laws. Our partners include the RCMP, Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, Revenu Quebec, New York and various police agencies.
The ministry is also part of the Cornwall Regional Task Force, which focuses on the smuggling of illegal tobacco throughout the Cornwall area. The task force's mandate complements the ministry's efforts to enforce tobacco tax laws and supports the Ontario government's Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.