More than 1,000 Canadian c-store owners took to the streets of Ontario recently to protest about policies they say are putting their businesses and lives at risk.
The retailers are angry at an increase in violent robberies which they blame on increasing tobacco taxes and new display laws, compounded by a lack of support from the government.
They are demanding compensation for rising crime, which they believe will worsen when a law to remove cigarette displays comes into force in 2008.
The new law will require retailers to keep cigarettes behind a curtain - a move retailers believe is dangerous, as staff will be more vulnerable to attack by having to turn their back on customers to reach behind the curtain for products. A number of incidents have already been reported in Canada where criminals have snatched money from tills after asking staff for cigarettes stored out of sight.
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive David Rae recently visited Canada to assess the situation. He said: "It's clear from the information we've received that the legislation in Canada caught a number of retailers and retail organisations on the hop. It's also clear that some of the changes were not thought through properly.
"There are fears criminals will take advantage of the new laws. If something is made more difficult to get hold of, then the risk to staff is often higher. It all depends on how well people plan for change.
"If something similar was ever introduced in the UK then we would obviously help retailers and ensure they planned properly for such changes."