Ontario farmers fight tire fee increase
By Mark Wales President Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)
Apr. 9, 2013, Guelph, ON - Ontario's farmers are fighting a sharp increase in stewardship fees meant to cover the costs of recycling off-road tires, including tires used on farms. Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS), an agency of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), is responsible for the recycling program. The new fee structure came into effect on April 1, 2013.
The fees themselves are nothing new. Before April 1, 2013, farmers paid a stewardship fee of $15.29 per tire for every tire they bought for the farm. After April 1, those fees rose sharply for off-road tires, based on the weight of the tires. A stewardship fee today could be as high as $350 to cover a tire's end-of-life recycling and to bring the program out of the red because, since 2009 the program accumulated significant debt.
The drastic fee increases – which average 400 per cent over the mix of farm tires – came as a surprise to Ontario farmers and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). However, the OFA recently met with OTS to investigate options and advocate for changes to the fee increase. The new fees put Ontario farmers at a competitive disadvantage to those in other provinces and the United States.
The fundamental problem leading to the fee increases lies within the legislative restrictions under which OTS is required to work. In the longer term, OFA will need to seek changes to the mandate that would allow for more flexibility in program administration and recycling options. The meeting concluded with an understanding that each organization would identify short and medium-term options for improvements to the program and would work toward a solution acceptable to both parties.
The OFA recently launched a call-to-action website actnow.ofa.on.ca. The website makes it simple for members to voice their concerns about important issues by automatically sending a letter to their Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), as well as Premier Wynne and other key decision-makers at the Ontario Legislature. Hundreds of Ontario farmers have already voiced their concerns about the drastic stewardship fee increases. And while our farmer members are doing their part to tell government that such dramatic fee increases are unacceptable, OFA continues working on other solutions to ease this regulatory burden.
Go to actnow.ofa.on.ca and add your voice to the discussion. Join the growing number of Ontario farmers who are proactively requesting the Ontario government reverse the stewardship fee increases.