Province seizes 8.6 million cigarette rods in Cornwall

CORNWALL – A joint investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Finance resulted in the seizure of 8.6 million cigarette filter rods under the Tobacco Tax Act in Cornwall a month ago.

The Ministry seized the cigarette products on May 8 and charged two individuals with offences under the provincial Tobacco Tax Act. Cigarette filter rods do not contain tobacco, but can be filled with cut tobacco.

A release from the Ministry on June 3 said that cigarettes sold without a yellow stamp from the province are illegal. In addition to court-imposed fines, individuals and businesses may also have to pay civil penalties in relation to the charges.

No details about the individuals charged were released. When asked by The Leader, Ministry spokesperson Scott Blodgett said, “Any charges laid by Ministry of Finance inspectors or investigators, would be done so under the Tobacco Tax Act; because of this, the Ministry of Finance cannot say anything that could, in any way, breach confidential taxpayer information.”

Further questions about who the joint investigation was conducted with, or details on the two people who were charged were rebuffed by the Ministry.

“Once a charge has been laid under the TTA the Ministry of Finance cannot say anything that could, in any way, breach confidential taxpayer information. Very simply, the Ministry of Finance cannot provide any further information,” Blodgett said.

According to Section 32 of the Tobacco Tax Act, no person working for the provincial government can disclose information about charges laid under the act. Records regarding charges are not publicly accessible either.

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