Budget Another Blow to Alberta Convenience Stores

New taxes will drive customers away

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Oct. 28, 2015) - For the second time in the calendar year, the Alberta Government is increasing gas and tobacco taxes - two key products for Alberta convenience store owners.

"The tax burden on our stores and on our customers is becoming overwhelming," said Andrew Klukas, President of the Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA). "In this economy, owners are fighting just to keep their stores open. The last thing we needed was another tax increase."

Tobacco and gas taxes have gone up twice in the last year. The increased price of gas impacts the costs of all goods and services. Credit card fees increase for everyone when customers use their cards to pay for gas, and store owners will have to deal with more drive-offs as people try to avoid paying for gas.

And it should come as no surprise that the illegal tobacco trade continues to thrive in Alberta.

"Alberta's illegal tobacco rate is 9.8% and contraband tobacco is available across the province," said Klukas. "These tax increases are quickly driving tobacco customers underground and to the black market. The Alberta Government is giving the advantage to criminals, not to small business."

While new taxes may provide the Notley Government with short term revenue, they will place and incredible strain on small businesses and impact every Albertan's purchasing power.

"With regard to tobacco, we have asked the Notley Government to work with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to give them the resources and mandate to make fighting contraband tobacco a priority in Alberta," said Klukas. "With this increase in taxes we are confident that more illegal sellers will be on the ground in Alberta."

"Alberta has some good tools it can use to fight illegal tobacco in the Tobacco Tax Act," said Klukas. "We hope the Ministers of Health and Finance will work with the Alberta Gaming and Liqour Commission to give them the resources and mandate to make fighting illegal tobacco a priority."


The WCSA is a not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 2,400 Alberta convenience store retailers. These retailers employ more than 20,000 people and contribute over $7 billion annually to the province's economy. Its mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Western Canada by representing the best interests of its members and the communities they serve.

Contact Information:

John McHughan
(613) 235-1400