Raw Leaf Tobacco Program information for producers
For the purposes of the Raw Leaf Tobacco Program, raw leaf tobacco includes all varieties of unmanufactured tobacco, grown in or brought into Ontario, including flue‑cured, dark‑fire‑cured/dark‑air‑cured (also known as black) and burley tobacco.
The Ministry of Finance regulates raw leaf tobacco in Ontario, whether or not the raw leaf tobacco is grown in Ontario.
For information relating to raw leaf tobacco activities other than growing, please refer to Raw Leaf Tobacco Program Information.
Requirement to register as a raw leaf tobacco producer
Registration certificates required to produce and sell raw leaf tobacco
The Ministry of Finance's Raw Leaf Tobacco Program commenced on January 1, 2015. Under the Raw Leaf Tobacco Program, the Ministry will be issuing registration certificates and carrying out inspections and investigations as required. If you were previously a registered grower under the Ontario Flue‑Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board, you will now require a registration certificate from the Ministry of Finance to grow raw leaf tobacco. No fees will be payable to the Ministry of Finance in respect of the issuance of a registration certificate.
The Tobacco Tax Act requires all entities involved in the raw leaf tobacco industry to hold a registration certificate issued by the Ministry of Finance, and to deal only with other entities that hold the appropriate registration certificate issued under the Tobacco Tax Act. The Ministry of Finance maintains a listing of raw leaf tobacco registrants.
Starting January 1, 2015, unless you fall under an exemption category described below, you must have a Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate under the Tobacco Tax Act if you:
- plant or grow tobacco plants, or
- harvest or cure raw leaf tobacco.
If you plan to sell the tobacco that you grow, you must also have a Raw Leaf Tobacco Dealer Registration Certificate before you sell, offer to sell, or keep for sale raw leaf tobacco.
If you do any of these activities without holding the required registration certificate(s), your raw leaf tobacco may be seized and you may have to pay fines and penalties.
A Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate is not needed in the following circumstances:
- If you are an individual and you are producing no more than 15 kilograms of raw leaf tobacco per year for your own personal use and not for sale.
- If you are a university or college of applied arts and technology and you are producing raw leaf tobacco for use in teaching and research (does not apply agronomic research related to the manufacturing of tobacco products).
- If you are producing raw leaf tobacco using seeds with a novel trait (within the meaning of the Seeds Act (Canada)).
How to get a Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate
Complete and submit an Application to Register - Raw Leaf Tobacco to the Ministry of Finance to register under the Raw Leaf Tobacco Program. Information provided to the ministry in this application may be disclosed where necessary for verification purposes only. For example, the ministry may need to contact buyers located outside Ontario to confirm validity of contract with a producer who is an exporter.
An Application to Register - Raw Leaf Tobacco only needs to be made once, so long as the applicant remains compliant under the Tobacco Tax Act and their raw leaf activities remain the same. If your business changes and you require additional registration certificates, you must complete an Application to Register - Raw Leaf Tobacco for the specific registration certificate required before starting that new raw leaf tobacco activity.
If you plan to sell the raw leaf tobacco that you produce, also register as a Dealer by using the same Application to Register - Raw Leaf Tobacco form. The Ministry of Finance will send you an Application to Produce, and if you meet the criteria:
- Raw Leaf Tobacco Dealer Registration Certificate, and
- Evidence of Contract for Purchase form.
To get a Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate, you must complete an Application to Produce form and an Evidence of Contract for Purchase form. Send them to the Ministry of Finance at least thirty (30) days before you plant.
- Application to Produce
This form outlines your planned production for the current year, including information on the land you will use to plant and grow tobacco.
- Evidence of Contract for Purchase
This form summarizes the arrangement you have with the buyer of the tobacco that you will be producing. It includes information on the land that will be used to fulfill your contract.
You can only sell or offer to sell raw leaf tobacco to a person who has a Raw Leaf Tobacco Dealer Registration Certificate, a Raw Leaf Tobacco Exporter Registration Certificate or a Tobacco Manufacturer Registration Certificate under the Tobacco Tax Act. You can check who is registered by visiting the Ministry of Finance's website.
Note: The Ministry asks that the Evidence of Contract for Purchase form be signed by both you and the person who has agreed to buy the raw leaf tobacco from you. Producers need to complete and send in a separate Evidence of Contract for Purchase form for every buyer. If you have raw leaf tobacco in your inventory at the end of the production year that you need to carry over to the following year, you must submit a completed Evidence of Contract for Purchase for contracts entered into with a purchaser of your carry over tobacco. Send these to the Ministry of Finance with your Application to Produce form.
If you are only producing raw leaf tobacco for agronomic research or manufacture of your own tobacco products, the Application to Produce form is replaced by the Application to Produce for Agronomic Research form or the Application to Produce for Own Use in the Manufacture of Tobacco Products form as the case may be. In these situations, an Evidence of Contract for Purchase form does not need to be completed.
Producer registration certificates have conditions and must be applied for yearly
You are required to complete an Application to Produce form prior to planting raw leaf tobacco each year. You will receive this application each year for you to complete and submit to the Ministry of Finance. Information provided to the ministry in this application may be disclosed where necessary for verification purposes only.
If you meet the prescribed criteria, the Ministry of Finance will issue you a Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate. This certificate allows you to produce raw leaf tobacco in Ontario for the current production year. It will have conditions and restrictions, such as where you are authorized to plant tobacco and a limit to the number of acres being planted. The Ministry of Finance may amend existing restrictions or conditions or impose additional restrictions and conditions. Failure to comply with conditions and restrictions may result in penalties or fines.
The Tobacco Tax Act provides for penalties and fines for producers who plant more than permitted on their producer registration certificate. Additionally, inspectors may seize raw leaf tobacco not yet harvested and may allow the producer to cut down the raw leaf tobacco not yet harvested. Ministry inspectors may require that the cut down is supervised. All cut downs by the producer is at the risk and expense of the producer. If the Ministry of Finance seizes and disposes of the raw leaf tobacco, it may recover any costs of removal or disposal from the producer.
The Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate is valid for the current year only. You must apply for a new Raw Leaf Tobacco Producer Registration Certificate every year that you plan to produce raw leaf tobacco by completing an Application to Produce form.
Refusal to issue a registration certificate
If the Ministry of Finance intends to refuse to issue a registration certificate, you have the opportunity under the Tobacco Tax Act to request a show‑cause hearing with the Ministry of Finance to allow you to raise your concerns and request a re‑evaluation of your application.
Reporting requirements of raw leaf tobacco producers
You must let the Ministry of Finance know about any changes to the name or nature of your business and your raw leaf tobacco activities as soon as the change happens. This includes if there is a change from information provided on your initial application to the Ministry of Finance. Failure to do so may result in fines or penalties. You must also give the Ministry of Finance the information below.
On the Acreage Confirmation form, confirm (by sketch) the locations of the lands where you have planted tobacco plants and the facilities that you will use for curing and storing tobacco. The Acreage Confirmation form is sent by the Ministry of Finance in March of each year to all producers.
You must complete and send in the Acreage Confirmation form within ten (10) days of when you finished planting. Acreage Confirmation forms must be received no later than June 15 of each year.
Raw leaf tobacco return and schedule(s)
You must report your raw leaf tobacco activities by completing and sending in a Raw Leaf Tobacco Return to the Ministry of Finance.
The information that must be reported includes:
- how much raw leaf tobacco you have in inventory at the start of the reporting period including any carry over tobacco from the previous production year
- how much raw leaf tobacco you have produced since the last reporting period
- how much raw leaf tobacco you have sold and who you sold it to
- any adjustments to raw leaf tobacco quantity you have in inventory and the reason for the adjustment, and
- how much raw leaf tobacco you have in inventory at the end of the reporting period, including any carry over tobacco at the end of a production year.
If you are a producer who is authorized only to sell raw leaf tobacco that you produce and to sell that tobacco only in Ontario, your reporting period is quarterly. You must file the returns by the 10th day of the month after the end of the quarter. The quarters end March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31.
You do not need to complete and file the return if, in a quarter, you do not expect to cure, keep for sale or sell any raw leaf tobacco. Advance written notice to the Ministry of Finance is required.
Your reporting period and filing frequency may change if you engage in other raw leaf tobacco activities. For example, if you export raw leaf tobacco, you will report and file monthly.
Notice of intent to destroy
You are required to notify the ministry at least three (3) days before you intend to destroy raw leaf tobacco that has been cured. Failure to do so may result in fines or penalties.
You can call at 1‑866‑668‑8297 extension 16160 or email RLT@ontario.ca. If you contact by email please indicate Waste notification in the email subject line.
You must provide:
- the date of the planned destruction
- the current location of the raw leaf tobacco to be destroyed and the location where it is to be destroyed
- the quantity and type of raw leaf tobacco to be destroyed
- the method of destruction, and
- the reason for the destruction.
Additionally, you are required to keep a record of raw leaf tobacco that has been cured but has not been baled within 24 hours of being removed from the kiln or barn. This raw leaf must be kept in a distinct pile or it can be spread on a field so long as it can be visually verified by an inspector.
Your records must document:
- the reason why the raw leaf tobacco was not baled or packaged within 24 hours of being removed from the kiln or barn
- the kiln number or the barn number in which the raw leaf tobacco was cured, and
- an estimate of the weight of the cured raw leaf tobacco in the pile.
Stolen Raw Leaf Tobacco or Damaged Crops
In the case of theft of raw leaf tobacco or crop damage, producers are asked to promptly contact the Ministry of Finance by calling 1 866 ONT‑TAXS (1 866 668‑8297) extension 16160 so that the details of the occurrence may be documented and verified. Supporting documentation may include a copy of any police report or insurance report.
Actual yield confirmation
If you produced raw leaf tobacco to sell, you must complete and send in the Actual Yield Confirmation form to the Ministry of Finance within thirty (30) days of your final delivery to the last buyer you produced raw leaf tobacco for under the Evidence of Contract for Purchase form(s) for the current crop year. An Actual Yield Confirmation form will be automatically sent by the Ministry of Finance to all producers.
If you do not produce raw leaf tobacco for sale, you must complete and submit the Actual Yield Confirmation to the Ministry of Finance as soon as you can.
Transporting raw leaf tobacco
Registration certificate required for transporting raw leaf tobacco
Any person who transports raw leaf tobacco in Ontario must have a registration certificate for the raw leaf activities in which they engage or be transporting the raw leaf tobacco on behalf of such a person. If you transport raw leaf tobacco in Ontario without crossing provincial or international borders, you do not need a separate registration certificate to transport the raw leaf tobacco.
Whenever raw leaf tobacco is transported by an interjurisdictional transporter, the transporter must carry a true copy of their interjurisdictional transporter registration certificate.
Please see Changes to the Raw Leaf Tobacco for more information on transporting requirements and consequences of non‑compliance.
Inspection and compliance
Failure to comply can result in suspension and cancellation
Ministry of Finance officials are authorized to inspect any land used to grow tobacco and any inventory of raw leaf tobacco. This includes measuring the land used to grow tobacco, and inspecting barns, cutting locations and warehouses where your tobacco is stored – both onsite and offsite.
Inspecting fields does not always require Ministry of Finance officials to enter the premises or place where raw leaf tobacco is produced. Ministry of Finance officials are authorized to survey, photograph and make any kinds of records, in person or remotely.
Ministry of Finance officials may seize the raw leaf tobacco from anyone not in compliance with the Tobacco Tax Act. In certain circumstances, you will receive a written notice prior to the Ministry of Finance seizing your raw leaf tobacco. If you receive a written notice that the Ministry of Finance intends to seize your raw leaf tobacco, you may make a written request within 5 days of receiving that notice to have a hearing to explain why the Ministry of Finance should not seize the tobacco.
Your raw leaf tobacco registration certificate(s) may be suspended or cancelled for many reasons, including:
- providing false or misleading information
- breaching your conditions and restrictions, or
- otherwise not complying with the Tobacco Tax Act.
If the Ministry of Finance intends to suspend or cancel your registration certificate, under the Tobacco Tax Act you have the opportunity to request a show‑cause hearing with the Ministry of Finance to allow you to raise your concerns and request a re‑evaluation of the Ministry of Finance's intention.
Request an interpretation
To obtain an interpretation on a specific situation not addressed, please send your request by:
- email: Advisory Services
- mail: Ministry of Finance, Advisory Services, 33 King Street West, 3rd Floor, Oshawa ON L1H 8H5