Evidence of meeting #67 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was legal.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Lynda Balneaves  Registered Nurse and Medical and Non-Medical Cannabis Researcher, Canadian Nurses Association
Karey Shuhendler  Policy Advisor, Policy, Advocacy and Strategy, Canadian Nurses Association
Serge Melanson  Doctor, New Brunswick Medical Society
Robert Strang  Chief Medical Officer of Health, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
Michael DeVillaer  Assistant Professor, Policy Analyst, McMaster University, As an Individual
Mark Kleiman  Professor of Public Policy, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, As an Individual
Trina Fraser  Partner, Brazeau Seller LLP
Brenda Baxter  Director General, Workplace Directorate, Labour Program, Department of Employment and Social Development
Norm Keith  Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Clara Morin Dal Col  Minister of Health, Métis National Council
Isadore Day  Ontario Regional Chief, Chiefs of Ontario
Wenda Watteyne  Senior Policy Advisor, Métis National Council
David Hammond  Professor, University of Waterloo, School of Public Health and Health Systems, As an Individual
Mike Hammoud  President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association
Melodie Tilson  Director of Policy, Non-Smokers' Rights Association
Pippa Beck  Senior Policy Analyst, Non-Smokers' Rights Association
Steven Hoffman  Professor, Faculty of Health, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, As an Individual
Beau Kilmer  Co-Director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center
Kirk Tousaw  Lawyer, Tousaw Law Corporation
Stephen Rolles  Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

To all of you, I think we're not yet aware of what the tax proceeds will be from cannabis, but I think we're speculating that there will be some significant funds that will be flowing from the revenue stream. I'm just wondering what the revenue split should be and where you would like to see that revenue directed.

3:25 p.m.

Ontario Regional Chief, Chiefs of Ontario

Chief Isadore Day

Obviously there is always going to need to be public and private sector interests. Our nations need to find ways to be participatory to help sustain communities. One of the obvious ones will be in the area of health, possibly in education, but to ensure that there is an economic footprint and opportunity in our communities, that's going to be really key.

Let me speak to the issue of exemption in taxes. I will impress upon the committee again that there needs to be immediate discussion, not just provincially but federally as well, with regard to tax exemption as well as what instruments will need to be explored to ensure harmonization could occur. Again, I'll just use the example of the HST and PST exemption in Ontario. First nations are exempt from paying provincial sales tax. That will be on the table. It will be a consistent expectation from our first nations communities. How do we move beyond that? Again, those are my comments.

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Ms. Dal Col.

3:25 p.m.

Minister of Health, Métis National Council

Clara Morin Dal Col

As Métis people we do pay taxes, so I'd like to see some of that tax money come back to the Métis nation and to our people for, like I keep saying, education, prevention, health resources, and treatment centres. We're going to need all these things, and so I'd like to see some of the tax money that we do pay come back to the Métis people.

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

That concludes our session.

I want to say on behalf of the committee, you've made an amazing presentation. We've had over 80 presentations, but you've still brought new facts and new issues to the table, and we appreciate it very much. I think you've done a great job of presenting your issues. I want to thank you all for your time, the effort you put into this, and the thought you put into it as well.

That completes this session, and we're going to suspend now until 3:45 p.m.

Thank you.

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

We're reconvening our meeting number 67 of the Standing Committee on Health. We're studying Bill C-45 on cannabis. Our panel this afternoon is going to discuss labelling and packaging.

Our witnesses today are Dr. David Hammond, professor, University of Waterloo School of Public Health and Health Systems, by video conference.

From the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association, we have Mr. Mike Hammoud, president; and from the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, we have Melodie Tilson, director of policy, and Pippa Beck, senior policy analyst.

Each organization will have a 10-minute opening statement, and then we'll open it up for questions from the members.

We will start with Dr. Hammond for 10 minutes.

4 p.m.

Dr. David Hammond Professor, University of Waterloo, School of Public Health and Health Systems, As an Individual

Thank you, and good afternoon.

I'm a scientist, and for almost 20 years I've been conducting research on the impact of health warnings, product labelling, and the effect of branding and marketing in the areas of tobacco, food, and most recently, cannabis. I want to be clear that I don't accept any industry funding, and I don't represent any organization for or against cannabis legalization. I've also served as an adviser to the World Health Organization and regulatory agencies around the world and been an expert witness in tobacco litigation, including on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Now I'd like to focus on the public health implications of three areas. One is restrictions on branding and package, the second is health warnings, and the third is product labelling.

Of all the areas covered in the act, marketing and promotion can have the most direct impact on who uses cannabis, what types of products are used, and for what reason. The marketing restrictions proposed in the act are largely modelled on those for tobacco products in Canada. Like tobacco legislation, the cannabis act seeks a balance between allowing product information to reach adult consumers while prohibiting marketing that promotes use, especially among young people.

The question, of course, is how to balance and how to accomplish that balance, and I would like to touch upon several lessons from our experience with tobacco marketing over many decades.

The first lesson is that branding has the greatest impact on young people, those whom the act seeks to protect.

The second is that limited marketing restrictions have limited effectiveness. When most traditional forms of tobacco advertising were prohibited, the marketing expenditures didn't stop. They simply shifted to other channels, including packaging and the retail environment. For this reason, Canada and other countries are implementing what we call standardized or plain packaging of tobacco products that removes logos and brand imageries from packs, but allows product information to be displayed.

Plain packaging is an effective public health measure. Not only does it reduce the promotional appeal to young people, it also enhances the impact of health warnings. If the government were to pursue its objectives without implementing plain packaging, the government would find itself with the responsibility to police thousands of individual packages to ensure that brand imagery does not increase appeal among youth or promote a positive lifestyle. That's an incredibly resource-intensive and difficult task that has proved ineffective for tobacco products, as it almost certainly would for cannabis products.

The third lesson from tobacco is that, once marketing and promotion is allowed, it's very difficult to scale back through regulation or new legislation. Consider that it's taken 50 years and multiple legal challenges for Canada to achieve the current restrictions on tobacco marketing. It is much harder to restrict marketing after it's been permitted than it is to loosen restrictions, and once it's been allowed, the effects of promotion and marketing can persist long after removal. In short, it's very hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

The fourth lesson is that the removal of branding does not promote illegal or contraband sales. Testimony to this committee earlier this week suggested that restricting cannabis branding would make it more difficult for consumers to distinguish between illegal and legal products. That simply is not accurate. Cannabis products acquired through legal retail outlets will be clearly distinguished by health warnings and other labelling requirements. It's simply not credible to associate reduced branding with an advantage for illegal products. The same argument has been made by tobacco companies to oppose plain packaging laws, and these arguments have been refuted in multiple legal rulings. Overall, if the government wishes to prevent lifestyle advertising and promotion to young people, the act should include plain packaging.

Health warnings are another essential component of labelling policy. The question is, what should cannabis warnings look like? What does Canada want to say about the risks? Is driving high really all that risky? Does it really harm a baby when their mom uses cannabis when pregnant? Most Canadians are uncertain about the potential risks of these products, and they want this information.

Health warnings are the most cost-effective, self-sustaining way of communicating with Canadians about cannabis. Should cannabis warnings look like the ones on cigarette packs? Well, if they don't, they should at least incorporate the same basics of effective warnings. That is, they should be large, they should use colour, and include pictures. Large pictorial warnings are the most effective way to reach children and youth and the most vulnerable members of our society with low literacy.

Warnings aren't just about scaring consumers away from a product. They are about informing consumers, but they also provide an opportunity to provide support for those who need it, and for addiction. In Canada, every cigarette pack includes a telephone helpline number and a website for helping Canadians quit smoking. We have evaluated this, and it works well. I would urge the government to display the same services on cannabis packages to demonstrate its commitment to reducing addiction.

Lastly, I'd like to briefly discuss labelling of product contents and dose. I think there is strong consensus that THC levels should be displayed on packages, but we can't simply rely on providing numbers to consumers. How many people in the room today intuitively understand what 50 milligrams of THC means? Is that a little? Is that a lot? What does it mean in terms of different products or routes of administration?

Consider that Canada is about to start using what we call traffic-light labels or high/low symbols on food packages. We're going to be doing that because it's easier for consumers to understand and use. The same principles should apply to cannabis labelling. If it's important enough to use symbols for canned soup and sugary drinks, it's important enough for cannabis products.

I would argue that THC and dose labelling should also be reflected in the actual packaging. When edibles are eventually sold on our market, each dose should be individually packaged. Think about individual pieces of gum that are packaged within the larger packaging, or those little Halloween chocolate bars that we hand out, which are now sold, again, in a larger packaging.

To conclude, overall the public health impact of cannabis will largely be determined not simply by whether it's becoming legal, but by how it's regulated in a legal market. Comprehensive restrictions on marketing and promotion should be given precedence in the act and should include plain packaging. Large, clear health warnings that use images will provide governments with an efficient and highly cost-effective means of communicating with consumers. They should also be used to support Canadians who need help with addiction.

Regulations should also heed the lessons from Washington, Colorado, and other states that have legalized cannabis, to ensure effective labelling standards for edibles and different forms of cannabis. Collectively, these measures will demonstrate the government's commitment to ensuring that cannabis legalization benefits public health.

Thank you very much.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Thank you very much.

Now we'll move to Mike Hammoud, president of the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association. Welcome.

4:05 p.m.

Mike Hammoud President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association

Thank you.

Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Mike Hammoud, president of the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association, ACSA. On behalf of the ACSA, I'd like to thank the Standing Committee on Health for inviting us here today to speak on the labelling and packaging of retail cannabis as it pertains to Bill C-45.

Within the context of my presentation today, it is our understanding that the objectives of the act are to prevent minors from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements, and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. It is also our understanding that the act is intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.

More specifically, the focus today is on the labelling and packaging of regulated cannabis products at retail. To that end, I believe our experience with tobacco retailing has significant relevance to the issues you are dealing with.

First, I will begin with some information about the ACSA, our members and our collaborators. Secondly, I would like to delve into the specific issues of the labelling and packaging of regulated cannabis sales, and our experiences with tobacco packaging and labelling.

The ACSA was established in 2009 as a not-for-profit trade organization to promote responsible convenience retailing and to represent the economic interests of our convenience store members. Today, our membership includes more than two-thirds of the convenience store locations operating in Atlantic Canada.

In collaboration with the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, the Western Convenience Store Association, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, the Quebec Convenient Stores Association, and the National Convenience Stores Distributors Association, we have considerable experience with and insight into convenience retailing.

Convenience retailers are heavily regulated, be it lottery, food services, beverages, alcohol where available, and in particular tobacco. In tobacco retailing, we have experienced monumental change over the years and we have worked with regulators in our industry to achieve what we believe to be two primary goals. The first is to minimize tobacco consumption among minors; the second is to minimize the rampant distribution of illegal tobacco.

Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, I am of the firm belief that we can bring relative and pertinent insights to your deliberations, so let's move on to the labelling and packaging of federally or provincially regulated cannabis at retail.

At present, legislation—Bill S-5—has been put forward that would introduce plain packaging for tobacco products in Canada. As mentioned earlier, this legislation would eliminate the branding of products. By this we mean the trademarks, individual logos, graphics and colours that differentiate one product from another. With a standardized generic package, the only brand identification would be the product name in a small and simple standardized font. Everything inside would look the same.

The catalyst for this is Australian plain-packaging legislation that came into effect in late 2012. However, that example and others demonstrates that plain packaging doesn't work. In the case of Australia, the reality is that an examination of all publicly available, relevant and reliable data, after five years points to the same conclusion, that there's been no statistically significant decline in Australian smoking prevalence. In the Australian plain-packaging environment, there has also been a dynamic shift in market share between legal and illegal tobacco products, with consumption of illegal products increasing.

Is there a correlation between plain packaging and illegal consumption? Our Australian colleagues are of the opinion, and we concur, that plain packaging is the catalyst for a race to the bottom in terms of the lowest price point being the primary purchase motivator. When the price becomes the primary purchase motivator, that opens the door to illegal purchases that can be made at a fraction of the price of legally sold product.

In Canada, we estimate that illegal products account for some 20% of the overall consumption of cigarettes, with the illegal market share being upwards of 33%, and higher in Ontario. In the end, labelling and packaging are immaterial to many tobacco purchases relative to access to cheap smokes. How would this be any different for retail sales of cannabis?

We know that many illegal cigarettes are sold unbranded and loose in poly bags, also known as baggies, but it should be noted that plain packaging opens the door to increased distribution and sales of counterfeit or look-alike packaged cigarettes, simply because it is so much easier for illegal producers to replicate the packaging. Will your average smoker know the difference? It's unlikely.

More recently, plain tobacco packaging became mandatory in France as of January 1 this year, in what was described by proponents as a decisive weapon against smoking. To the surprise and shock of many, first-quarter sales of cigarettes in France increased 7% compared with the same period in 2016. The French health ministry dismissed the sales increase, saying that plain packaging would not influence current smokers, that plain packaging was principally targeting younger people, and that the impact would only become apparent in the medium- to long-term future. What we have, then, is a plain-packaging advocate saying that plain packaging will have no impact on established smokers, and that the target population for plain packaging is youth.

Well, look at the situation in the Canadian context. As far back as 2003, there have been strict rules in place in Canada related to tobacco marketing that prevent the advertising or promotion of tobacco, testimonials, accessories, and anything else tobacco-related that could be appealing to young people. Today there is also mandatory use of locked cabinets or screens at point of sale to hide tobacco products from display.

At the same time, a large majority of retailers are vigilant in screening out underage buyers through the widespread practice of asking for proof of age identification. Our industry takes great pride in its ability to be a responsible and diligent partner to government in the controlled sale of age-restricted products like tobacco. Such training programs as “We Expect ID” are a commitment to assist retailers and their staff in upholding the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct and to support public health and safety. Underage youth in Canada today have negligible exposure to cigarette packaging and labelling. In our opinion, the unintended impacts of plain packaging, such as the lowest-price mentality among consumers or the risk of increased contraband sales, far outweigh any perceived benefits.

It is notable that youth cannabis smoking rates in Canada are twice as high as youth smoking rates. According to Health Canada, the national youth tobacco smoking rate in 2015 was 10%, while the national youth cannabis smoking rate was 21%. Generic packaging would not be an effective tool in achieving what is a common goal for all of us, which is negligible rates of both tobacco and cannabis consumption among youth. We believe that if governments are serious about reducing smoking, be it tobacco or cannabis, then there is much more work that can be done in the areas of education and smoking cessation.

Convenience retailers believe that the types of initiatives in place for tobacco retail sales in Canada can be replicated effectively for the retail sale of cannabis without resorting to the questionable value and impact of plain labelling and packaging. As is the case with tobacco, industry, anti-cannabis groups, health care organizations, and governments should work together to minimize the number of youth and adults consuming cannabis.

In conclusion, we recommend to the committee that branding on cannabis retail packaging be allowed for two important reasons: one, to reduce the ability of criminals to produce and distribute contraband product; and two, to minimize the impact of lowest price point by educating and allowing legal consumers to make informed decisions on their product choices.

Thank you.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Thank you very much.

Now we'll go to the Non-Smokers' Rights Association.

Ms. Tilson, you have 10 minutes.

4:15 p.m.

Melodie Tilson Director of Policy, Non-Smokers' Rights Association

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good afternoon, honourable members. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.

As you heard, my name is Melodie Tilson. I'm the director of policy with the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. With me is our senior policy analyst, Pippa Beck. Together we have more than 40 years of experience in tobacco control.

Our organization, the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, has been at the forefront of tobacco reforms in Canada since its inception in 1974, leading campaigns for the federal Tobacco Products Control Act and its successor the Tobacco Act, and for plain packaging as far back as 1994—so the impetus for plain packaging around the world including Canada did not come from Australia's move in 2012 just to correct that piece of misinformation—and for world-precedent setting graphic health warnings on packages, to name just a few.

It is this wealth of experience in effective regulation of an addictive and harmful product, one that is primarily smoked, that we bring to bear on your consideration of issues related to the appropriate regulation of cannabis and in particular the packaging and labelling of these products.

First let me say we are pleased that the government recognized the importance of taking a public health approach to the regulation of cannabis. Such an approach prioritizes measures to maintain and improve health by minimizing the harms associated with use. However, where there is a profit motive in the selling of drugs, public health is at risk. Make no mistake.

The tobacco industry has shown us what an uncontrolled industry is willing to do in pursuit of profit. Big tobacco is the disease vector whose activities and behaviours are responsible for the entirely preventable epidemic that we continue to battle today. Cannabis legalization needs to be protected from commercial interest or Canada could face big tobacco 2.0, big cannabis. Indeed, there are indications from jurisdictions that have already legalized cannabis that this risk is very real.

The federal government has the opportunity to learn from tobacco's grievous history and to get the legal framework for the cannabis industry right or at least more right from the outset.

So what should a public health approach to cannabis regulation entail? We fully support the government's goals of preventing youth from accessing cannabis and protecting public health and safety by establishing strict product requirements. Note that expanding the cannabis industry and its market should not be a goal.

Given the focus of this panel, I will devote most of my remarks to packaging issues, but before doing so, I would like to highlight a few other areas where cannabis regulation would benefit from lessons learned in tobacco control.

Keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth will require devoting adequate resources to enforcing the ban on underage sales and imposing penalties for non-compliance that are high enough to serve as deterrents.

Safeguarding public health requires measures to protect the public from breathing second-hand cannabis smoke. This means including the smoking of cannabis in all federal and provincial smoke-free laws as recommended by the Canadian Cancer Society and others to this committee.

Finally, providing adequate public education is essential, not only about the risks of use, but also about the risks of breathing second-hand smoke and about relative risk. There is little public understanding of the fact that smoke is smoke, and most of the risk comes from inhaling smoke whether tobacco or cannabis, or of the fact that vaping poses much less risk to health than smoking.

One of the reasons for Canada's success in reducing smoking rates is our multipronged, decades-long effort to de-normalize tobacco products and tobacco use so that smoking is no longer a social norm. Tight restrictions on advertising and promotion have been integral to changing the social norm.

The task force on cannabis legalization and regulation rightly concluded in a discussion paper that:

Since marketing, advertising and promotion of marijuana would only serve to “normalize” it in society and encourage and increase usage, it has been proposed that these should be strictly limited so as to dampen widespread use and reduce associated harms.

In its final report, the task force recommended comprehensive restrictions on advertising and promotion and plain packaging for cannabis products.

Our organization supports a comprehensive ban on cannabis promotion with the exception of information advertising in stores off-limits to minors. Because packaging is a key form of promotion, NSRA strongly supports requiring cannabis products to be sold only in plain packaging.

The recommendation for plain packaging is based on a large body of robust research including consumer product research and internal tobacco company documents.

There have been more than 100 studies from at least 10 countries, including 25 empirical studies conducted in Australia since plain and standardized packaging was implemented there five years ago, and the experience in jurisdictions that have already legalized cannabis.

I would like to show you just a few examples of cannabis packages available in jurisdictions where it is legal, but where packaging is not strictly controlled.

As you can see, a wide range of consumers are targeted, from youth, obviously in these examples, to perhaps young adults to sophisticated adult consumers. It is no wonder it has been said that a product is just a product. The packaging is the brand. When most other forms of promotion are prohibited, the package not surprisingly becomes the most important marketing vehicle. As early as the 1970s, tobacco companies foresaw the day when their ability to promote their products would rest solely on the pack.

According to a 1979 document by British American Tobacco:

Under conditions of [a] total [advertising] ban, pack designs…have enormous importance…. Therefore, the most effective symbols, designs, colour schemes, graphics, and other brand identifiers should be carefully researched. An objective should be to enable packs, by themselves, to convey the total product message.

There is substantial evidence from consumer product research that effective packaging increases sales. For example, when milk in school cafeterias was sold in plastic bottles instead of the traditional gable-top cardboard cartons that we're all familiar with, sales increased by as much as 24%. Students said the milk tasted better, and all of a sudden it became cool and fun to drink.

Shape and colour are two design elements that exert a strong influence on brand image and the impact of packaging. Package colouring is one way tobacco companies target specific brands to specific subpopulations.

This pack of Vogue Super Slims featuring pastel colours on the outside as well as matching liners is a prime example of a brand targeting young women. The brand name Vogue Super Slims clearly preys on the body image concerns of young women. Also noteworthy is the pack's diminutive size. Various studies demonstrate that consumers perceive that cigarettes in these tiny packs are less harmful than cigarettes in a standard pack. The pack size also enables tobacco companies to circumvent the intent of Canada's large graphic health warnings. As you can see, with a pack of this small size compared to a standard slide and shell pack, the image has virtually no impact, and the text is illegible.

As their ability to exploit packaging elements to promote sales has been curtailed, tobacco companies have become more creative with brand and variant names, using names to connote aspirational lifestyles, reduced risk, or misleading product attributes. For example, the brands LD Club Night and Peter Stuyvesant New York Blend both conjure images of a hip urban lifestyle.

We are concerned that without restrictions here in Canada, the same will happen with cannabis brands. A quick Internet search revealed evocative names such as Suicide Girls, Pura Vida Health, and Everyone Does it.

The large and growing body of research on plain and standardized tobacco packaging shows that plain packaging reduces the ability of the pack to create and communicate brand images, increases the effectiveness of health warnings, reduces package-based deception, and ultimately reduces tobacco use. Indeed, prevalence of smoking in Australia, despite what my colleague has said, is at a historic low with an independent assessment concluding that the packaging reforms were responsible for one-quarter of the total decline in smoking rates during the first three years after plain packaging was implemented.

Given the government's stated intention of taking a public health approach to regulating cannabis to reduce harms, a comprehensive ban on promotion is warranted, including strict controls over brand names and a requirement that cannabis products be sold in plain packaging with no promotional elements, health claims, or any kind of false or misleading statement. Only essential information should be permitted on cannabis packaging.

To conclude, we support a public health framework for the legalization and regulation of cannabis sales in Canada. We believe the measures we have proposed will go a long way to further safeguard the interests of public health.

As Professor Hammond said, “it is [much] easier to loosen restrictions” on advertising, promotion, and packaging down the road if warranted, rather than trying to rein in a burgeoning market and a powerful industry.

Thank you. We look forward to your questions.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Thank you, and now we'll start with a round of seven-minute questions, quite appropriately with Mr. Oliver.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

I don't know why that is, but thank you very much.

Mr. Hammoud, I have just a quick question. Do the convenience store associations or convenience stores receive direct funding from the tobacco industry?

4:25 p.m.

President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association

Mike Hammoud

I'm sorry. Could you repeat the question?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Are convenience stores or your associations funded in any way directly by the tobacco industry?

4:25 p.m.

President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association

Mike Hammoud

Are we funded...? We are funded through a membership, just like Coca-Cola would pay its membership, just like—

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Do you receive direct funding from the tobacco industry?

September 14th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.

President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association

Mike Hammoud

Yes, but you're making it seem like they're the only ones that give us funding.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

No, I just wanted to ask that.

4:25 p.m.

President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Right now, I think that about 40% of convenience store sales are tobacco sales.

4:25 p.m.

President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association

Mike Hammoud

If you're excluding gas and food service...?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Yes.

4:25 p.m.

President, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association