Did you know that the rules for selling tobacco in Ontario have changed? Anyone who sells tobacco products should already know the basics: don't sell to anyone under 19, no flashy signs or advertising are permitted, and make sure the products you sell have the appropriate labelling and packaging.

What you may not know is that the Ontario government made two important changes to its tobacco laws in July 2010:

  • People who buy tobacco for resale need a Tobacco Retail Dealer's Permit.
  • The sale of flavoured cigarillos is banned and rules for packaging sizes of non-flavoured cigarillos (including little cigars) have changed.

Tobacco Retail Dealer's Permit

If you plan on selling tobacco products in Ontario, you need a Tobacco Retail Dealer's Permit. Your suppliers will ask to see the permit before you can buy from them. If you're a wholesaler or a manufacturer, be on the lookout for these required documents before selling to businesses - it's the law.

If you already have a valid Retail Sales Tax Vendor Permit or if you are an authorized retailer under Ontario's First Nations Cigarette Allocation System, you do not need to apply for the new Tobacco Retail Dealer's Permit.

You can call the Ontario Ministry of Revenue at 1-866-ONT-TAXS (1-866-668-8297) to find out more about the Tobacco Retail Dealer's Permit; just say "tobacco" to speak with an agent.

Ban on Sale of Flavoured Cigarillos

The Ontario government made changes to the Smoke Free Ontario Act . This included banning the sale of flavoured cigarillos that were targeting Ontario's youth by being sold in flashy packages, in small quantities and in enticing flavours like grape and chocolate. These changes mean that you can only sell unflavoured cigarillos in packages of 20 or more. If you sell flavoured cigarillos or cigarillos in packages of less than 20, you could be fined up to $300,000.

To learn more about the changes to cigarillo sales, visit the Ministry of Health Promotion website FAQ and Factsheet.

Get information on other regulations that may apply to your business using Canada Business' Permits and Licences search.