Eco-Fees to be investigated? Updated

Ontario’s ombudsman has announced they may launch an investigation into the secretive stealth tax known as eco-fees:

…spokeswoman for Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin, said an investigation into the fees — which slipped into effect without the knowledge of many Ontario residents on July 1 — is not guaranteed, but said the office is covering its bases.  “Mr. Marin has asked the special ombudsman response team to conduct an assessment of the issues raised in the complaints we’ve received about eco fees — about a dozen so far, including the one from [Ontario NDP leader] Andrea Horwath,” Ms. Williamson said in an email yesterday.

“Before the ombudsman makes any decision on whether or not to launch an investigation, the complaints and issues have to be assessed.”

My prior posts on eco-fees have been some of the most searched in the history of the blog, and from the many comments, Ontarians are angry.  The first post is here, but the post with all the information about Stewardship Ontario is here.

Now it’s time to push Andre Marin to investigate this cynical fee, here are his contact details:

Phone: 1-800-263-1830 – Complaints Line
Fax: 416-586-3485
TTY (Teletypewriter): 1-866-411-4211

Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C9

We can stop this greenwashed tax grab, just write, call or email and ask the ombudsman to crawl all over Stewardship Ontario’s operation.

UPDATE: Ontario MPP Jim Wilson has blogged about the eco-fees, and he doesn’t mince words:

…this is a Liberal tax.  It started in 2006 when the Environment Minister sought a proposal from Waste Diversion Ontario on how to implement an eco-tax.  The scheme was presented to the Liberals in 2007, and in February 2008 the Minister personally approved the plan to implement the tax on 4,000 items.  On July 22, 2008 the Minister requested that the tax be expanded to a wider array of goods.  On September 22, 2009 the Minister personally approved a plan to apply the tax to 5,000 additional products.  After the outcry that began on July 1 of this year, the Minister began blaming businesses and the PCs for the tax.  Aren’t they a deceitful bunch!

The Liberals have also claimed that they have nothing to do with Stewardship Ontario, the agency that collects the tax on the government’s orders.  That’s also a load of bunk.  The CEO of that organization is a former Liberal staffer.  Much like eHealth Ontario, it is run by Liberal insiders, is unaccountable to the public, and is funnelling an untold amount of eco-tax dollars to consultants.  This agency is so secretive that they are not even subject to Freedom of Information laws.


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