Ontario’s Eco-Fees: An Update

After the announcement that the unpopular eco-fee stealth taxes would be suspended for 90 days, Stewardship Ontario sent an email to current ‘Stewards’ detailing what the announcement meant.

Remember, ‘stewards’ is simply a name Stewardship Ontario uses to describe any business that they force to pay into their scheme, it is not voluntary and is a cynical branding exercise to hide the truth that Ontario is double-dipping for handling garbage.

Thanks to a reader who works for a ‘steward’, we can see how Stewardship Ontario communicated the announcement to industry:

Minister of the Environment: Eco fees suspended

John Gerretsen, Ontario’s minister of the environment, has ended “eco fees” on all materials that were added to the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program on July 1, 2010.

The move, announced at a press conference this morning, applies to phase two materials only (materials added to the program on July 1, 2010). Consumer eco fees can continue to be levied on the nine phase one materials introduced in July 2008.

To make this happen, government has told Stewardship Ontario that the steward obligation to pay Stewardship Ontario fees for phase two materials – the 13 additional classes introduced July 1, 2010 – will be suspended for 90 days.

There are no changes to the steward obligation for the last quarter of phase one (April 1, 2010-June 30, 2010). Stewards should report their sales of phase one materials for this period as required by July 31, 2010.

Changes to reporting processes will be required to accommodate this decision for the third quarter of 2010 (July 1 to September 30). Please do not report data for this period at this time. Further instructions on Q3 reporting will be provided in the near future.

What You Need to Know
•    Business as Usual for MHSW Program: Both phase one and phase two of the MHSW or Orange Drop will operate as usual.  Stewardship Ontario will continue to collect, transport and process all 22 designated materials, and to educate consumers about the importance of the program – and our success in diverting these materials from our landfills and waterways.

•    Steward Reports and Fees on Phase One Stay: Stewards will continue to report and pay fees on phase one materials as they were defined at that time (paints and coatings, solvents, oil filters, oil containers, single-use batteries, pre-packaged antifreeze (under 30 litres) and related containers, pressurized containers and pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and their containers).

•    Please Report Sales for Phase One Second Quarter Only: No changes have been made to steward reporting or payment for phase one for the period from April 1 to June 30, 2010. Stewards are asked not to submit a report for Q3 (July 1 to September 30, 2010) at this time. Instructions for reporting and paying fees for phase one materials for this period will be issued in the near future.

•    Eco Fees Banned on Phase Two Materials: Retailers may continue to charge an eco fee on phase one products. Government has implemented a consumer-protection hotline (1-800-889-9768 or TTY: 416-229-6086 or 1-877-666-6545) to receive consumer complaints.

On July 21st Environment Minister John Gerretsen announced that eco-fees are gone for good, but the day before, according to Stewardship Ontario, industry is still being charged fees on Phase One products.  Which probably means that consumers are being charged too.  Perhaps secretly, as Stewardship Ontario prefers.

Where the truth lays is yet to be determined, more on this later.

Previous posts:

Eco Fees in Ontario

Eco-Fees 2: Stewardship Ontario

Take that Hippies

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