Retailer Action Needed on Proposed Plain Packaging Regulations

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Retailer Action Needed on Proposed Plain Packaging Regulations

Posted on Saturday 09/29/18

On May 23, 2018, Bill S-5, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-Smokers Health Act, became law, laying the groundwork for plain packaging and other standardization measures. Now the federal government has issued draft rules regarding the implementation of plain tobacco packaging. The big surprise in the draft rules is the inclusion of standardized packaging in addition to requirements for plain packaging. All with a very short implementation timeline.

Standardized packaging means replacing the current flip-top form of tobacco packaging which accounts for 90% of the Canadian marketplace, with the old slide-and-shell packaging. Plain packaging means that all packages will look the same, with no logos.

The proposed plain packaging regulations will forever have a profound effect on how we are able to handle the entire tobacco category. From now until October 31st, there is an opportunity to influence these regulations. You operate a legal, respected and trusted business that serves and employs people from the community. It’s time to speak up and be heard. Please take a few minutes to contact your MP via the links below. It only takes a few minutes.

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1. Plain and Standardized Packaging
The Act mandates the same colours, fonts and format for all packaging – and no logos.
Let's make sure legal tobacco products are identifiable and easy to tell apart from illegal products.

2. Costs for Retro-fits and Tight Timelines
Retailers have nine months to become fully compliant. Nine months to plan and implement new shelving, storage and planograms and educate clerks on the new regulations.
We urge the government to extend the implementation timeline to 12-18 months.

3. Removal of Distinguishing Marks
The CCSA retailer survey, as Health Canada noted in their assessment of the impact of S–5 regulations on small businesses, only pertains to the cost of plain – not standardized – packaging. Preliminary discussions with retailers, particulary small independent stores, points to potential costs of $1,500 per store to retro-fit their current shelves to accommodate slide and shell packaging only. These concerns are further compounded by accelerated timelines outlined in the regulations.
We recommend that Health Canada put a hold on implementing standardized packaging until a thorough assessment of the costs and implications (i.e, impact on the contraband market) has been conducted.

This may be our only chance to speak up for the c-store channel. Please help us broadcast this information to all of your colleagues to give everyone the opportunity to have a say.