Ontario Signs Tobacco Agreement-in-Principle With Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Province Partnering with First Nations to Support Community Growth and Prosperity
Ontario has signed an agreement-in-principle with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne on tobacco regulation and revenue-sharing to support community growth and prosperity, and advance self-regulation.
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Grand Chief Abram Benedict of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne signed the agreement in Toronto.
The Ontario government has been engaging with First Nation communities across the province on sharing a portion of provincial tobacco tax revenues with communities that agree to regulate on-reserve tobacco sales.
As one of the participating First Nations, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has begun the internal consultation and legal work to examine how community-based regulation could advance public health priorities while growing its economy. The purpose of the agreement-in-principle is to guide negotiations as Ontario and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne work toward an agreement.
Advancing collaborative agreements like this is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work in collaboration with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
- The Ontario government and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne have been working together since 2012 to explore self-regulation of on-reserve tobacco and revenue-sharing, as part of a tobacco pilot project.
- In July 2017, Ontario reached a similar agreement-in-principle with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation for tobacco regulation and revenue-sharing.
- The 2017 Ontario Budget announced the province’s intention to collaborate with First Nations on amendments to the Tobacco Tax Act and other legislation to support effective coordination and integration of provincial legislation with First Nation tobacco laws.
- The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples outlines the province's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.
“Our government is working together with First Nation partners to develop community-based solutions to regulating tobacco that will be mutually beneficial for First Nations and the province. This agreement-in-principle with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is an important step in moving toward a system that will generate new revenue for community development.”
“Ontario is committed to working on a government-to-government basis with First Nations to find a mutually beneficial and sustainable solution to tobacco regulation and revenue-sharing. Today’s announcement with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is an historic and exciting step in that direction.”
“The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne looks forward to continuing to work cooperatively with Ontario, to build on our existing relationship, and to continue to find mutually beneficial economic opportunities that can be supported by both Ontario and the Akwesasne community.”
Grand Chief Abram Benedict