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Eco fees: WTF!?!

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by alexd, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    So how can these fees just be applied, at random and at variable rates, to everything from paint products to vitamins? Vitamins?

    What a scam! This Stewardship Ontario group, who I have never heard of before this week, is managing the eco fee and they have struck gold. Money will be pouring in... Or will it? I am sure there will be retailers adding these eco fees and not passing them on, or charging higher eco fees and passing on less.

    And who's to say this Stewardship Group won't just eat up these fees in bloated administrative costs instead of directing them to the environment...

    This eco fee thing sounds like fraud just waiting to happen IMO.
  2. unique2100

    unique2100 TRIBE Promoter

    Ya it's pretty bullshit. It's not a tax though (not that you said it was). It's just added to your bill by retailers instead of being buried in the cost. Personally I'd prefer the latter.
  3. erika

    erika TRIBE Member

    I don't think it's so bad - it's a policy push to make people aware of stuff. You buy super harsh chemicals, there's a cost to the environment on that. What am I missing?
  4. unique2100

    unique2100 TRIBE Promoter

    People dont like extra shit added to their bills. I wish this and taxes were integrated in the price. In Scotland they got the VAT (Value added tax 20%, if that's not a fuck you of a name I dont know what is) but at least the sticker price is what comes out of your wallet.
  5. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    yes, but why is it on some vitamins and not others? why is it applied at different rates to the same products, even when bought at the same store?
  6. erika

    erika TRIBE Member

    no idea whatsoever; sounds like a proper ontarian implementation to me
    (cf. drinking rules "you can drink this glass here, and there, but not in between the two....")
  7. MissBlu

    MissBlu TRIBE Member

    where are you shopping? maybe you need to re-evaluate that?

    i think eco-fees or environmental fees are reasonable. if you are buying paint there are costs they pay for environmental factors, car parts to be disposed of, etc.

    i haven't been charged any environmental fees for vitamins.
  8. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    from the star

    Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin is wading into the furor over controversial new eco fees charged on thousands of household items, infuriating consumers.

    Marin said his special response team is being sent in to determine whether a full investigation is needed into concerns raised by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and “a number” of complaints from citizens to the ombudsman's office about the “creation and application” of the fees.

    Horwath wrote Marin - one of the government's most outspoken critics - earlier this week concerned that the fees imposed by retailers through the independent Stewardship Ontario recycling agency were not properly communicated to consumers and could be subject to “potential abuses,” such as “disguising” price increases.

    The government, which regulates Stewardship Ontario, signalled Wednesday that it is concerned about a lack of transparency with the complicated schedule of fees on thousands of products.

    Eco fees should be displayed on price tags to eliminate sticker shock for shoppers, Environment Minister John Gerretsen said.

    The charges — slapped on a wide range of potentially toxic household items from hand sanitizer to fire extinguishers starting July 1 — “should be as transparent as possible,” Gerretsen said Wednesday.

    “It would clear it up and make the consumer aware,” added the minister, who two days ago wrote a sternly worded letter ordering the Stewardship Ontario agency to fix mounting problems with its new fee — up to $6.66 per item — charged by retailers.

    Stewardship Ontario was set up by the former Progressive Conservative government in 2002 to manage blue box recycling programs, but did it did not start charging eco fees until 2008 on a small number of items. The controversial fees were expanded July 1 but were not well publicized.

    “It could be on the sticker. That’s for Stewardship Ontario to work out,” Gerretsen said as Liberal damage control efforts continued amid criticism from environmentalists and opposition parties that implementation of the fee has been botched.

    Canadian Tire, for example, has apologized for its errors in charging inconsistent and excessive eco fees, blaming an error in programming its point-of-sale computer systems.

    An immediate fix was promised to problems like charging one customer a 43 cent eco fee for dishwasher detergent when the actual fee should have been a penny.

    “We are looking for ways of better informing the customers in-store of what products attract an eco fee so when they get up to the cashier they know what the fee will be,” perhaps with signs on the shelves for the 8,300 products affected, said company spokeswoman Amy Cole.

    That may be with signs on shelves for the 8,300 products affected because putting the information on price tags could be difficult, she added.

    As the political firestorm swirled around it and the government, Stewardship Ontario had, as of Thursday morning, no comment for three straight days and refused to make chief executive Gemma Zecchini available for interviews.

    A statement was promised but has not materialized. Stewardship Ontario was expected to respond to Gerretsen’s scathing letter, in which he ordered overcharging problems to be fixed and threatened to revoke the agency’s power to set eco fees.

    “It’s a real mess,” said one industry source of the silence from Stewardship Ontario — a body that Conservative Leader Tim Hudak called “secretive and unaccountable.”

    Opposition parties said they agreed with Gerretsen that eco fees should be on price tags or store shelves.

    “Without question, consumers deserve to know what they’re paying for,” said Conservative MPP Frank Klees. “We should all know, in turn, what that fee is going to be used for.”

    NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the fees should be readily visible before purchase as a way to steer consumers to less harmful products, as well as to avoid surprises at the cash register.

    Aside from overseeing blue box recycling programs, Stewardship Ontario’s job is to make sure household hazardous waste is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner — a process funded by the eco fees paid by manufacturers and consumers.

    But the eco fees were not charged until 2008 under Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government. Those initial fees covered household hazardous waste items like paint and solvents but most consumers didn’t notice until the program was expanded to 22 types of household items on July 1 — the same day as the new 13 per cent HST kicked in.

    Carrying the highest fee of $6.66 are large fire extinguishers.

    The fees go toward funding the proper disposal of items on which it is now charged, such as aerosols — including asthma inhalers — cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, compact fluorescent light bulbs and thousands of other things that could be hazardous if they end up in landfills or dumped into sewer systems.

    Stewardship Ontario had $98.9 million in revenue last year with a surplus of $1.9 million largely because of higher than expected revenues from printed paper and packaging.

    Gerretsen said he has still “not received a satisfactory explanation” from officials at Stewardship Ontario as to how the latest fees were mismanaged given the smooth implementation of the first fees in 2008.

    “None of these problems existed last time around . . . I was surprised that some retailers were charging more.”

    With files from Robert Benzie
  9. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    Apparently it is on chewable vitamin C, vitamin D, and on prescription medicines.
  10. basilisk

    basilisk TRIBE Member

  11. SolChild

    SolChild TRIBE Promoter

  12. MissBlu

    MissBlu TRIBE Member

    as if the amount can go up to $6.66!!!
  13. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    I can see there being all kinds of issues with this from a retailers perspective: how can the point of sale software cope with all the varying rates on different products by different manufacturers? It's not like a flat rate like gst pst or hst that applies across the board to everything in a flat rate way...

    Its: big fire extinguisher + $6.66, small bottle of vitamin D add .99, larger bottle add 1.09, garbage bags add $1. Whoever has to program the point of sale systems is going to mess it up and they already are making mistakes.

    And the beauty of this is, the price on the item in no way reflects what is will cost it the register! The item could cost 9 cents more or 6 bucks, give or take... You never know until you are at the register!
  14. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    This may explain the eco fee-asco:

    from the star

    Eco fee agency boss linked to Liberals, eHealth

    The head of embattled Stewardship Ontario is a well-connected Liberal who has retained a former eHealth consultant to do damage control for the recycling agency in charge of new “eco fees” on thousands of household products, the Star has learned.

    Gemma Zecchini, once a staffer in former premier David Peterson’s government and a donor to the Liberal party, turned for help to Hugh MacPhie, a Conservative communications expert best known as an author of former eHealth Ontario boss Sarah Kramer’s notorious $25,000 speech.

    That revelation comes as Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has, at the urging of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and complaints from the public, said he will look into whether a full investigation is warranted into the design and implementation of the controversial fees.

    The fees hit consumers with extra costs of up to $6.66 on a wide range of potentially toxic household items from fertilizer to light bulbs and cleaners. They came into effect July 1 with little advance notice to the public and caught shoppers by surprise.

    It’s the third time in a year that Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government has been rocked by problems at an arm’s-length agency. The others were eHealth and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, where spending irregularities raised eyebrows.

    “With the notion of well-connected Liberal friends and a government running for cover, all you need is the expensive consultants and you’ve got eHealth all over again with taxpayers footing the bill,” said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

    “The whole thing has become a train wreck.”

    Both eHealth and OLG lost their chief executives amid furor. Kramer quit after revelations of untendered contracts and high-flying spending at eHealth, where some consultants paid $3,000 a day expensed tea and cookies to taxpayers, while OLG chief Kelly McDougald was fired amid concerns about employee expenses. She later won a wrongful dismissal settlement.

    Opposition parties and critics have complained the implementation of the new round of eco fees has been botched, with some stores overcharging customers because of confusion over details or errors in programming cash registers.

    Many stores are waiting to sort everything out before charging the fees, intended to bankroll recycling efforts to keep harmful wastes out of garbage dumps and waterways.

    The controversy has been fuelled by silence from Stewardship Ontario, an independent, non-profit agency run by industry representatives but regulated by the government. The agency is self-funding from fees charged to manufacturers and consumers and is not subject to government Freedom of Information legislation. Executive salaries are not on Ontario’s “sunshine list” of public sector workers earning over $100,000 a year.

    Officials declined to say how much Zecchini and her executive team earns, how much is being paid to MacPhie in his current role and how much has been spent on consultants as the agency — which posted a $1.9 million surplus last year — runs Ontario’s recycling programs with money from consumers, industries and sales of recyclables like paper and cardboard.

    “That’s private,” said communications director Amanda Harper-Sevonty. The agency promised a statement on the issues facing it on Wednesday but nothing has been released.

    Stewardship Ontario has been “ducking and hiding” all week as the controversy grows, said Hudak, who dubs the agency “secretive and unaccountable.”

    Even a Liberal government can’t seem to get answers from the agency headed by Zecchini, who worked in the Liberal caucus office in the late 1980s with people including current McGuinty campaign director Don Guy — a key adviser to the premier — current Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal, the chief government whip, and former Liberal MP Paddy Torsney.

    Toward the end of the Peterson government in 1990, Zecchini became a press aide to attorney general Ian Scott. She was hired to run Stewardship Ontario last year in the ramp-up to the new fees.

    “There is certainly a sense of frustration, obviously, on the part of the ministry and the minister as to how Stewardship Ontario has introduced the concept,” said Liberal MPP Helena Jaczek, parliamentary assistant to Environment Minister John Gerretsen, who, like McGuinty, is on vacation.

    “We definitely would like to hear from Stewardship Ontario. I’m not aware of any contact.”

    MacPhie declined to comment on his assistance to Zecchini and the troubled agency, to which Gerretsen wrote a scathing letter on Tuesday demanding problems with stores overcharging customers on eco fees must be fixed promptly.

    “MacPhie and Company does work for Stewardship Ontario,” MacPhie confirmed in an email. “It is not our practice to comment publicly on our client engagements.”
  15. Liability

    Liability TRIBE Member

    I work on IT projects for a pretty major retailer, you could say the most 'Canadian' of retailers, and it has been a large struggle for the people on our POS side. Add the complication to the fact that the requirements and regullations for billing were in flux to the very end.

    Edit: There is a push to regulate display on pricing labels. We are certainly showing price online, not that it helps someone in the stores.
  16. <FresHFunK>

    <FresHFunK> TRIBE Member

    I believe I know what store Franchise you are referring to. LOL

    I cannot believe that the Government feels it is ok to tax a tax. We all pay income, property, sales, gas taxes and so on, and yet they feel the need to go deeper into our pockets. I'm sorry but the 3% COLA I received on July 1st from my employer does not match any of the new taxes and levies which have been implemented as of July 1st. On my count, I am going to have the liberty of giving up at least 5% of my actual income due to these so called beneficial taxes.

    To make matters worse, my property taxes are going up. In my region, garbage removal (which is paid for through my taxes) has been reduced to once every two weeks? So, if I want to buy some soap to wash my already shrinking pockets, I now have to pay a fee for the F'in Soap?

    When you look at your available income, and remove an estimated 26% for income taxes, 13% for the new everything taxes (HST), plus the 46% of the cost of Gas taxes and every other fee and BS you have to pay for these days your looking at actually only receiving a fraction of your income. About 50%, if you’re lucky. But hey if you’re a politician making these stupid laws and legislations you have a pension and benefits for life, all for fucking over the average Joe?

    Nothing like working for the MAN?
  17. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    I have emailed Stewardship Ontario, asking for a specific schedule of fees, to post here, so we can find out how much extra our purchases are really supposed to cost. I wonder if they will send it?
  18. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

  19. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    yup totally fucked over :rolleyes: 0.005 cents extra for a bottle of vitamins. :rolleyes: fml :rolleyes:

  20. <FresHFunK>

    <FresHFunK> TRIBE Member

    I'm in. We should ask for a budget outline for where the money is going and how it is being spent. Another good question would be, Who determines where the money is being distributed to? And How do we know that is the most effective use for the funds?
  21. <FresHFunK>

    <FresHFunK> TRIBE Member

    Apparently you don't pay enough taxes?
  22. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    apparently i dont eat enough vitamins. :D :D
  23. <FresHFunK>

    <FresHFunK> TRIBE Member

    you win! Lol
  24. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    *sparks and passes*
  25. Thunder

    Thunder TRIBE Member

    A "you know what really grinds my gears?" pic would be great in the this thread.


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