New head of Canadian anti-contraband advocacy group

Rick Barnum has been named the executive director of the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco. The advocacy group announced his hiring on Monday, March 28, 2022. (@RickBarnumNCACT/Twitter via Newswatch Group)

TORONTO – There’s a new face behind an advocacy group fighting contraband tobacco.

The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco has hired former Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum as its executive director.

He takes over from Gary Grant, a retired Toronto cop who held the position for over a decade.

Barnum was also the Ontario commander of investigations and organized crime and spent over 30 years with the OPP.

In a statement, Barnum says he’s “extremely proud” to join the group and that the job “aligns well with my career at the OPP where I helped to combat criminal gangs.”

Barnum says “it is well past time that the province addresses this issue and supports front line officers in combatting illegal cigarettes.”

The NCACT has made several stops in Cornwall over the years, including a cigarette butt survey of local schools in the late 2000s that was taken to figure out how much contraband was circulating in the area.

The coalition is funded by a number of groups including the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, chambers of commerce and the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council.