Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
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.
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.
In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.
Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.