Changes to the Raw Leaf Tobacco Program

Ontario Regulation 271/16 Raw Leaf Tobacco - Baling, Packaging, Labelling and Transporting (O.Reg 271/16), made under the Tobacco Tax Act (the Act), came into force on July 27, 2016, and provides enhanced oversight of raw leaf tobacco in Ontario. This page explains the new requirements, as well as existing requirements that relate to the changes; it provides general information only and does not replace the Act and Regulations.

Raw leaf tobacco (RLT) includes all varieties of unmanufactured tobacco grown in or brought into Ontario, including green leaf tobacco, the leaves and stems of a tobacco plant, flue‑cured, dark‑fire‑cured/dark‑air‑cured (also known as black) and burley tobacco. It does not include seedlings.

If you are involved in the RLT industry it is important that you read this page and contact the Ministry of Finance (the ministry) if you have questions or to notify the ministry of specific situations as required.

Baling and packaging

All RLT possessed or brought into Ontario must be baled or packaged. O.Reg 271/16 sets out certain exceptions to the baling and packaging requirements as described below.

Producers may possess RLT that is not baled or packaged if the RLT:

  • is not harvested
  • is the stalk of a tobacco plant or is attached to the stalk of a tobacco plant
  • is harvested but not cured
  • is being cured in a kiln or barn
  • was removed from the kiln or barn within the last 24 hours, and
  • was removed from the kiln or barn more than 24 hours prior, provided the RLT is in a distinct pile consisting only of RLT that was cured in the same kiln or barn and the following information is recorded in the producer's books or records:
    • kiln number or barn number in which the RLT was cured
    • estimated weight of the RLT in the pile, and
    • the reason why the RLT was not baled or packaged./li>

There are valid reasons for why RLT would not be baled or packaged within 24 hours, such as the:

  • tobacco is waste tobacco unfit for sale
  • RLT is off‑grade (e.g., green leaf or dark RLT) and the producer is waiting to gather enough of a similar grade to make a bale or package
  • moisture level of the RLT is too high and the RLT needs further drying before it can be baled or packaged
  • equipment needed to bale or package is not working and is in need of repair, or
  • there is another valid business reason based on the raw leaf tobacco and normal business practices.

For RLT that is not baled or packaged because it is waste (e.g., unfit for sale) or off‑grade RLT, the waste or off‑grade RLT does not need to be in a separate pile consisting only of RLT cured in the same kiln or barn (i.e., waste from more than one kiln or barn can be in the same waste pile).

Processors, manufacturers, importers and exporters may possess RLT that is not baled or packaged if the RLT is being:

  • processed or manufactured, and
  • actively assessed for quality by the processor, manufacturer, importer or exporter.

Dealers may possess RLT that is not baled or packaged if it is:

  • purchased for the purpose of selling, offering, or keeping for sale to an individual who is exempt from registration under the Act for personal use, and
  • being immediately packaged for the purpose of selling the RLT to an exempt individual.

Other baling or packaging exception:

  • RLT possessed by persons exempt from registration under the Act or Ontario Regulation 247/14, including persons who possess RLT for personal use, research or certain other uses.

Labelling

Every bale or package must be visibly labelled with a numbered marker as soon as the bale or package is made in a baler or by a packager. This means that a marker must be affixed to a bale or package before the baler or packager is used to make a subsequent bale or package.

All imported RLT must be labelled prior to entering Ontario.

All markers must be in the form of a sticker. The ministry recommends the use of a tamper‑proof, tear‑away type sticker; however, for the 2017 season, this type of sticker is not required.

Requirements for a marker affixed to RLT

RLT baled or packaged in Ontario

  • name of the RLT producer
  • date baled or packaged
  • where applicable, the number of the kiln or barn where the RLT was cured (e.g., for producers)
  • bale or package weight
  • purchaser's name
  • bale or package number that distinguishes the bale or package from any other bale or package produced by the producer for a purchaser.

Imported RLT

  • name of supplier
  • jurisdiction of origin
  • importer's name
  • bale or package weight
  • bale or package number that distinguishes the bale or package from any other bale or package imported by the importer from the supplier.

2017 season

Under O.Reg 271/16, all information must appear in a single marker. However, the ministry recognizes that markers and record books currently used, or planned to be used, by RLT registrants may contain some of the information now prescribed by the Minister. To assist registrants in providing the required information for the 2017 season, the ministry will allow the use of more than one marker to meet the information requirements. Any additional marker must be placed adjacent to the main marker. As well, the use of legible handwritten information added to a marker, or on packaging adjacent to a marker, is acceptable for the 2017 season.

Transporting RLT

O.Reg 271/16 sets out requirements regarding transportation of RLT, including the requirement to provide advance notification to the ministry in certain situations.

In general, persons transporting RLT, or causing it to be transported within Ontario, must notify the Minister at least one business day in advance of their intent to transport.

Where a producer's RLT is being returned from a dealer to the producer, the notice provided to the ministry on the transport of the RLT to the dealer is sufficient as notice of the return. However, a producer must make a record of all RLT returned from a dealer.

Failure to produce information or documents upon request by a ministry official that support the transport of RLT may result in penalties or fines.

Registrant notifications, including a Bill of Lading, should be:

Producers transporting RLT between registered locations

A producer is not required to notify the Minister in advance of their intent to transport RLT between two locations that the producer is permitted to produce RLT. However, the producer is required to keep a copy of their registration certificate in the vehicle(s) that they are using to transport RLT, which details the registered locations they are permitted to transport RLT.

Note: Possession of a producer's registration certificate is also required for persons transporting on behalf of the producer.

Producers required to notify the ministry about additional locations

In limited circumstances (e.g., storage issues, fire, loss of power, etc.) where it is vital to move RLT to an unregistered location, producers must notify the ministry as soon as possible, and at least 24 hours prior to transporting RLT to that location. All new locations will be subject to inspection.

Once notice is received, the ministry may add the new location to the producer's listing of authorized locations, and where applicable, will issue an amended registration certificate.

Producers can notify the ministry by:

  • Phone: 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297) extension 16160
  • Email: RLT@ontario.ca, or
  • Fax: 905 433‑6650

Dealers, processors and manufacturers

When transporting RLT, dealers, processors and manufacturers must:

  • keep a copy of all applicable registration certificates in the vehicle(s) they are using to transport RLT, and
  • have a Bill of Lading (or Uniform Manifest Form with a listing of information identifying the bales or packages and the marker numbers as required for a Bill of Lading) in the vehicle(s) they are using to transport RLT.

Note: Possession of the above documents applies to persons transporting on behalf of dealers, processors and manufacturers.

Failure to produce information or documents upon request by a ministry official may result in penalties or fines.

Dealers, processors and manufacturers must notify the ministry at least one business day before moving RLT. Registrant notifications, including a Bill of Lading, should be:

Dealers, processors and manufacturers must ensure that all RLT delivered to receiving stations is weighed and recorded, including any unpurchased RLT being returned.

Importers/exporters

Under the Act, a person intending to bring RLT into, or take out of Ontario must:

  • keep a copy of all applicable registration certificates issued in the vehicle(s) they are using to transport RLT
  • have a Bill of Lading (or Uniform Manifest Form with a listing of information identifying the bales or packages and the marker numbers as required for a Bill of Lading) in the vehicle(s) they are using to transport RLT
  • provide information to the Minister about the particulars of the tobacco being imported or exported, and
  • provide information to the Minister that is sufficient to satisfy the Minister that the tobacco has been received in Ontario or taken out of Ontario.

Note: Possession of the above documents also applies to persons transporting on behalf of importers and exporters.

The Minister requires that importers and exporters notify the ministry at least three business days before importing or exporting RLT.

Notifications should:

  • be faxed to: 905 433‑6650, or
  • be emailed to: RLT@ontario.ca, and
  • include confirmation of:
    • date of the import/export
    • point of entry or exit
    • export loading time
    • name and address of seller or purchaser
    • quantity and type of RLT to be imported/exported
    • importing/exporting jurisdiction
    • name and address of carrier.

Importers and exporters are required to submit supporting documentation (e.g., sales invoice, Bill of Lading and/or export declaration form), as soon as possible to the ministry, confirming that the import/export has taken place.

Importers must ensure all RLT delivered to receiving stations is weighed and recorded, including any unpurchased RLT being returned.

Interjurisdictional transporters

When transporting RLT, interjurisdictional transporters must:

  • keep a copy of all applicable registration certificates in the vehicle(s) they are using to transport RLT, and
  • have a Bill of Lading (or Uniform Manifest Form with a listing of information identifying the bales or packages and the marker numbers as required for a Bill of Lading) in the vehicle(s) they are using to transport RLT.

Failure to produce information or documents while stopped or detained by a ministry official may result in penalties of fines.

Recordkeeping and reporting

RLT registrants must maintain and produce when requested, adequate records to enable the accurate and up‑to‑date determination of RLT produced, processed, sold, purchased, transported, imported or exported. Failure to do so may result in penalties or fines.

Weights recorded on markers must match the weights recorded in record books. The ministry recommends use of kilograms as the unit of measurement. To convert pounds to kilograms registrants should multiply the number of pounds by 0.454.

Markers

A sticker must be used to meet RLT labelling requirements in the Act. The ministry recommends the use of a tamper‑proof, tear‑away type of sticker. Markers must contain the information prescribed by the Minister.

Registrants should document damaged, unusable, lost or stolen markers in their records and where applicable keep the remnants of the markers with the record.

Waste and off‑grade RLT

The details of piled waste or off‑grade RLT must be recorded in registrant record books, including: date piled, estimated weight, reason piled, source kiln or barn, bale or package.

Re‑baled, re‑packaged or re‑worked RLT

Where a registrant takes apart bales or packages of RLT to be re‑baled, re‑packaged or re‑worked, the original marker(s) must not be re‑used. The registrant must record the:

  • unique bale or package number of the original marker, and
  • unique bale or package number of the replacement marker and the up‑to‑date information on the marker (e.g., date baled or packaged, weight).

Damaged, lost or stolen RLT

Under the Act, the Minister shall specify the information required for damaged, lost or stolen RLT.

RLT registrants must:

  • notify the ministry of damaged, lost or stolen RLT within one day (after an incident occurs), and
  • submit all supporting documentation to the ministry as soon as those documents become available (e.g., copy of any police and/or insurance report, and proof of the insurance proceeds received in respect of the claim), if any.

All notifications and supporting documentation should be:

Records

RLT registrants must keep records that enable the accurate and up‑to‑date determination of RLT produced, processed, sold, purchased, transported, imported or exported. Records must document:

  • information from each bale or package marker
  • damaged, unused, lost or stolen markers, and where applicable, the ministry requests that the remnants of the markers be maintained with the record, and
  • details about waste, off‑grade, re‑baled, re‑packaged, re‑worked, damaged, lost or stolen RLT (for example, but not limited to: date piled or re‑baled, weight or estimated weight of waste in the pile, kiln number where the waste was cured, reason for the waste, original bale(s) that make up the new bale or package, etc.).

Records must be supported by source documents to verify the information in the records (for example, but not limited to: invoices, Bill of Lading; Uniform Manifest Form, evidence of contract for purchase, etc.). Failure to keep books and records may result in penalties or fines.

Consequences of non‑compliance

Ontario's RLT program includes a range of compliance and enforcement activities.

The Act provides for civil penalties and/or offence provisions for persons who fail to:

  • register
  • bale or package their RLT
  • label their RLT with a marker
  • report RLT activity in Ontario, and
  • possess documents when transporting RLT.

The Act also provides for civil penalties and offence provisions for persons who contravene a condition on their certificates. This includes increased penalties and fines for producers who exceed the limit to the number of acres they can plant in a crop year.

Additionally, ministry officials may seize RLT from persons not in compliance with the Act and regulations. This includes RLT not yet harvested. Where a producer plants more RLT than they are permitted, the ministry may allow the producer to cut down the RLT not yet harvested. Ministry inspectors may require that the cut down is supervised. All cut downs by the producer is at the risk and expense of the person subject to the seizure. If the ministry seizes and disposes of the RLT, it may recover any costs of removal or disposal from that person.

Your opinion counts

If you have any comments or suggestions that could help us improve our web page, we would like to hear from you. Please send your comments to:

Ministry of Finance
Advisory Services, Raw Leaf Tobacco
33 King Street West, 3rd Floor
Oshawa ON L1H 8H5

Related publication

For more information or to notify the ministry

Ministry of Finance, Raw Leaf Tobacco Program

  • Phone: 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297) extension 16160
  • Email: RLT@ontario.ca
  • Fax: 905 433‑6650
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