Whitehorse Daily Star

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Rick Karp

Recycling fees stir business community worries

Stakeholders in the Yukon tire and electronics sectors,

By Taylor Blewett on November 7, 2017

Stakeholders in the Yukon tire and electronics sectors, local industry associations, and the official Opposition are voicing a barrage of concerns about the Yukon government’s plan to implement new surcharges on tires and electronic devices, effective February 2018.

Updates to the Designated Materials Regulation (DMR) will see Yukoners and businesses in the territory paying new, up-front fees to provide for the recycling of electronics and electrical products and higher fees for tires, with the specific amount contingent on the product type and size.

The plans were initially proposed and then stayed in July 2016 under the previous Yukon Party government due to industry concerns and a need for more consultation.

The Liberal government announced last May that it would be implementing the DMR and surcharge amendments next February, pending further consultation with industry.

The government appears to be pushing ahead with the February implementation timeline. Community Services Minister John Streicker said in the legislature that additional industry consultation has occurred.

However, Yukon Party interim leader Stacey Hassard questioned the adequacy of this consultation Monday. Rick Karp, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce president, did so as well in an interview with the Star this morning.

“A week or so ago, I started to get phone calls from the electronics and tire guys,” Karp said.

Industry is calling for more consultation on the DMR changes, and the chamber is backing them on this, according to Karp.

Representatives with TechYukon, Integra Tire, and Kal Tire have all spoken to the Star to affirm their desire for additional government consultation.

Yukon IT solutions provider Tangerine Technology also issued a statement to that effect Monday.

“All of the business people realize that there should be recycling fees,” Karp explained. There’s also consensus that the best way to collect this fee is at the point of sale, he added.

However, Karp said, they want to ensure that the fees to be collected are aligned with surcharges in other jurisdictions.

Since 2003, territorial residents have been required to pay a $5 surcharge upon purchasing a tire with a rim diameter up to 62. 23 centimeters (24.5 inches) in size to pay for the cost of its recycling. Beginning in February, this amount will rise to:

• $7 for a tire with a rim diameter equal to or less than 43.18 cm (17 inches);

• $15 for a tire with a rim diameter greater than 43.18 cm but equal to or less than 55.88 cm (22 inches); and

• $50 for tires with a rim diameter greater than 55.88 inches.

Most cars and light trucks will fall into the first two categories, according to Kal Tire manager Rick Copes.

Recycling surcharges in other jurisdictions range between $3 in Quebec and Newfoundland to $11.25 in P.E.I. for passenger vehicle or light truck tires, data from the Canadian Association of Tire Recycling Agencies (CATRA) shows.

According to CATRA records, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not collect tire recycling fees.

The most startling difference in DMR surcharge applies to tires for medium trucks (those above 22 inches and below 24.5 inches), which could see recycling fees rise by 900 per cent – from $5 to $50 per tire.

“This Liberal government will make it uneconomical to purchase medium-sized truck tires in the Yukon,” Hassard told the house.

As for electronics and electrical products, Yukoners used to pay tipping fees that varied by item when they dropped them off at the city dump.

Now, they will be paying a surcharge at the point of sale that ranges from $1 for computer accessories like a mouse or keyboard, to $8 for a microwave to $30 for a large computer monitor.

These fees seem to be comparable to those charged in other jurisdictions, said Peter Turner, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce president. It has aligned with the Whitehorse chamber to push for more consultation on the DMR.

“Our concerns revolve primarily around the implementation of (the surcharges),” Turner said of his chamber.

“We want to make sure that it’s not burdensome to the business community, and we also want to make sure that we have adequate time to accomplish the changes.”

He pointed out that many local retailers of electronics and electrical products do not have the infrastructure in place in their cash registers, for example, to collect these surcharges.

Business leakage

The Yukon chamber was also concerned about “leakage of business” to the Outside by Yukoners attempting to circumvent the surcharges on tires or electronics.

However, the government has confirmed that online retailers will also collect the surcharge on products being shipped to the Yukon.

Staples and Best Buy have policies online that dictate their collection of recycling surcharges in various jurisdictions based on shipping addresses.

Further, Yukoners who might think buying a product in person in Vancouver or Edmonton will allow them to avoid the territorial recycling fee will simply end up paying the province’s surcharge, and fill the B.C. or Alberta recycling coffers.

Karp agrees that the government appears to be headed in the right direction with the DMR update, and additional consultation should assuage remaining concerns about pricing and infrastructure.

“I think it’s going to be OK,” he said, noting the government has expressed its willingness to continue to consult with stakeholders on the DMR. “As long as they meet.”

Streicker was unavailable for comment for this story.

Comments (10)

Up 14 Down 0

Skeptic on Nov 11, 2017 at 9:52 am

Nicely done, drive business out of the Yukon and out of Canada. You can bet that Chinese e-commerce websites won't be charging your recycling fees. I hope this means the dump will become free and we may see less dumping around town.

Up 23 Down 1

And all the government equipment gets paid for by? on Nov 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm

So that's every piece of industrial equipment private and public taking this hit?


So tax payers are on the hook for the gov's large fleet of industrial equipment. Territorial + Municipal

Up 17 Down 4

Have an Request for Proposal (RFP) put out to manage on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:50 am

the City, whole waste management, including compost.
This will enable our City to find out the real costs of services.
IF it is more cost effective to leave it alone so be it. If it is more cost effective to contract out the waste management system then do it.
In the RFP ask how they plan to operate and the City will learn a lot from it.
Our City has not been operating properly and not cost effective for the last five or so years.
Firing City senior staff because the Mayor can't get along with them. Employing City Managers who do not have the experience for the job. How much money has the City spent on packages to pay out these employees.
Residents of Whitehorse it is time for some new elected people which have the interest of the people first, not their own agenda.
Wilf Carter

Up 26 Down 0

Just Say'in on Nov 8, 2017 at 1:31 am

Oh my God. Who would want to be in business these days. Our Emperors and Lords are robbing us blind. The answer to all problems is to load on more levels of Bureaucracy, to hire more people to administer and spend us into the poor house. It never ends. This is the way all societies before us have failed, read on the fall of the Roman Empire and all others.

A Truck and B Train uses 30 tires at an additional 50.00 is an additional 1500.00 would you buy your tires here or while the truck was down there on a trip? Ya Think?

If all this really meant that things were getting recycled then I may buy in, but it doesn't happen. There is no market for this stuff. They have half a million tires a month in Vancouver and less then 1% capacity to deal with them, let alone ours and theirs has no freight cost. Our glass that we wash and take to the recycling centre gets crushed and used as ground cover at the dump. Don't even get me started with the cardboard that gets wet and is useless.

Up 19 Down 3

JC on Nov 7, 2017 at 9:12 pm

The Libs just doing what they do best. Use tax payers money to pay for their vote getting programs and you guys keep voting them in. I suspect it's mainly because people are afraid of Conservative ideology. For some reason they think that the Conservatives are going to send them back to the 18th century. Well, have fun paying the taxes. That's what Liberals do best. It's their ideology.

Up 26 Down 2

Dave on Nov 7, 2017 at 6:04 pm

So an 18 wheeler transport truck would now have $900 in tire recycling fees added to probably in the neighbourhood of $5- $700 in GST charged on those tires as well. I darn well know I wouldn’t buy tires in Yukon and pay those fees. Trucks aren’t a captive audience and they’ll have tires installed in the cheapest jurisdiction they drive through. Drive it to Alaska for example and even with exchange you’ll save the better part of 40% on a set of rubber over the Yukon. When you’re talking 9-12k for a set of rubber and you can save 40% that adds up.
Way to go you socialist Liberals, you’ll keep it up until you tax and fee local sales right out of this territory. Sandy Silver is obviously trying to turn the Yukon into a ridiculously high tax and fee jurisdiction just like his home province of Nova Scotia is.

Up 46 Down 3

Thomas Brewer on Nov 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

There's enough barriers for local businesses when competing with online or southern retailers - and while few people will shop Outside for tires (although I know a few that have) additional fees of up to $40 more than existing charges PER TIRE seems excessive.

There needs to be a level playing ground, and those in the North should be the last to implement additional fees.

Up 32 Down 4

Look at this recycling fees, keep going through the roof and Mayor does nothinging on Nov 7, 2017 at 4:18 pm

concrete about it. Why? Our City is not going to become sustainable in the future.
What municipal we are facing with so much debt over run on a building project by $9 million, because no accounting for interest on the debt and no budget cost for cleaning up the old sites. Dangerous highway status more coming for the Alaska Highway, more people been harmed by City bad investment decisions, on and on.

Up 41 Down 4

theft alert on Nov 7, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Just another tax/theft that will go into general revenues and force people to get creative to avoid this wasteful theft while nothing is done to fix real issues like government corruption and waste and micromanagement of the general population.
P.S. Good luck forcing global online retailers to steal on behalf of ineffective and wasteful bureaucratic government extortionists. Gone are the days when elected politicians wanted to make a positive difference, greed alone governs those who claim to govern.

Up 43 Down 4

Yet... on Nov 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm

...another tax grab. Remember starting in January King Trudeau will be dumping his green tax on us serfs as well.
We can always count on the Liberals to put the screws to us. Anything to fill the coffers to pay for their personal off shore accounts...

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