Liberal Government of Ontario's Eco-Tax Fiasco
(3 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
This case traces the attempt by the Liberal Government of Ontario, Canada, to introduce recycling fees on a large range of household products as part of the government's larger provincial waste management program. The Ministry of the Environment created an industry-funded, non-profit organization called Stewardship Ontario to oversee the regulation and collection of recycling fees in the province. In 2008, Stewardship Ontario began to levy recycling fees on a limited number of household products, fees that producers and retailers passed on to the consumers at the point of transaction. Ontario's consumers seemed to accept these fees as part of the cost of doing business in a province that was attempting to become a greener and less wasteful place to live. However, in 2010, Stewardship Ontario changed the fee structure on household products from a product-based to a material-based structure: products were now assessed a fee according to the kind and degree of material (chemical, metal, plastic) in the product. This change greatly expanded the number of products on which a recycling fee could be assessed, and it greatly complicated the fee structure for both producer and consumer. Consumers this time took notice of the new fees, and, objecting vociferously to the number of new fees and to the fee structure's lack of transparency, they called on the Minister of the Environment to scrap the program or at least to explain it clearly.
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