Look carefully at a retail receipt and you might notice a ECOFFE charge. This is a new environmental charge in Ontario that went into effect on July 1, 2008. Retailers have been legislated by the government of Ontario to charge this fee on behalf on the Stewardship Ontario. Which is an organization which has been established to implement environmental recycling programs, such as the blue bin program.

The organization expects to collect at least $28 million per year from consumers under the eco fee program.

The 2008 annual report states that Stewardship Ontario collected the following amounts from a combination of retail eco fees and municipal taxes in the years 2004-2008.

2004 $40,923,863
2005 $63,504,052
2006 $65,147,760
2007 $61,564,749
2008 $70,695,695

Stewardship Ontario spent $2.8 million in administrative costs in 2008.

Retailers can either charge the fee to consumers as a separate charge, which is what Canadian Tire does with its eco fee, or can hide the charge in the price of the item.

Under Ontario's current retail sales tax law if the fee is hidden you will be charged PST on the fee. If the fee is separate then you will be not be charged PST on the fee because according to the government of Ontario "RST does not apply to the fee payable to Stewardship Ontario as the organization is not providing taxable goods or taxable services. "

If you were charged PST on your eco fee you should ask for you money back. Check the government of Ontario's website on the RST law.

Stewardship Ontario has applied for a GST ruling and is waiting for the government of Canada is decide if GST applies to the eco fee fee. Until a ruling is made GST will be charged on the eco fee fee.

If the government of Canada decides that the GST does not apply to the eco fee then it raises the question, how are you going to get your GST money back?

The fee is now being charged on Phase 1 products. The eco fee will be charged on paints and coatings and their containers, solvents such as thinners for paint, lacquer and contact cement, paint strippers and degreasers, used oil filters, oil containers of 30 litres or less, single-use batteries, antifreeze, propane tanks, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides.

The second phase will include aerosol containers, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes, switches that contain mercury, thermostats, thermometers, barometers, pharmaceuticals and syringes.

A final phase will include items like contact cement, corrosive cleaners such as ammonia, and pool and photo chemicals.

The fee schedule for the period July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2009. The fee is revised every year. The 2008 annual report stated that since the price of recyclables has reduced and with the introduction of new harder to recycle plastics there will be an increase of 18% in the July 2009 to December 2010 fee schedule.




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16 comments

  1. Anonymous // January 7, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

    frugalANDexpensive...

  2. Anonymous // January 27, 2010 at 3:05 PM  

    "If you were charged PST on your eco fee you should ask for you money back. Check the government of Ontario's website on the RST law."

    CAREFUL! I just called OES and they pointed me to the following document that clearly states that PST applies to the eco fee.

    http://www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca/pdf/stewards/ontario_tax.pdf

    If you go to the OES web site and search around, you will indeed see statements like: "PST does not apply." But as OES explained to me, all this means is that they themselves have decided not to charge PST on their own invoices. Once the fee trickles down to the retail level, it is considered as part of the intrinsic value of the item purchased, and thus fully subject to 8% PST.

    -Jeffrey

  3. Anonymous // March 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

    I just bought 1 oil filter at Walmart which cost me $5.00 and the Eco fee was 60 cents plus PST and GST for a total of 68 cents. I found this ridiculously high 12% additional charge for the environment. Did they make a mistake overcharging me? 12% tax for Eco fee does not make sense.

  4. Anonymous // April 25, 2010 at 8:22 AM  

    Just another additional tax by a totally irresposible government.

  5. Anonymous // June 4, 2010 at 1:02 PM  

    This is a blatant tax grab, nothing else, environmental fee - what a joke. The Province runs one of the biggest polluters at Nanicoke. TAX GRAB - NOTHING ELSE.

  6. Anonymous // June 6, 2010 at 2:42 PM  

    Agree that it's just another tax grab. I just took two containers of waste oil back to the retailler and they asked for $2 "disposal fee" for the oil on which I had paid them an "eco fee" at purchase. Where is the money going?
    Kevin

  7. guild-rez // July 8, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

    Bought cedar mulch and soil at Canadian Tire and I was charged besides the HST an Eco fee of 24 cents.
    Why would I be charged Eco fees cedar mulch & soil??
    This doesn't makes sense??

  8. Anonymous // July 8, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

    Just another tax on the dummies in living in Ontario. What more do you want us to do, we recycle but that aint good enough for STEWARD ONTARIO.

    SCREW THESE BASTARDS!!!

  9. Anonymous // July 8, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

    These ECO fees is just another Liberal "pull the wool over Ontario's eyes" trick. I just don't understand why the people in this province voted the Liberals in again when they promised before their first term not to raise taxes only to raise taxes. Ontario residents are going to be sent down the Liberal tax and spend cliff if they don't vote them out for the next term.

  10. Anonymous // July 9, 2010 at 2:33 PM  

    What does ECO Ontario do with the fees? Assist the Blue Box program?
    Pay the municipalities for garbage recycling?
    It is more likely they use the money for their bureaucracy, advertising how great their program is,but not much spent on actual recycling.
    We already pay for recycling, where does this money actually go?
    Doug.

  11. Anonymous // July 10, 2010 at 8:13 PM  

    Everything's just going in the garbage now.

  12. Binkley // July 14, 2010 at 9:25 AM  

    It's rediculous. 50 Cents on top of a $2.50 3.78 liter bottle of bleach. This is nuts . The stewards appear top be able to set any fee they want to charge. I am also being taxed on top of that for a service I do not even want. The stewards also run the Orange Drop program. You end up taking your microwave to one of the orange drop places and they charge you $15 to dispose of it. So what is happening in Ottawa is that TV's, microwaves, (working or not) are dropped off at the thrift shops and quite often dumped along the side of the road. There is no way I am going to pay for disposal of an item I have already paid taxes for!. We already pay for recycling with an arm and a leg through our taxes, and now we are expected to pay even more! My next TV to dispose of is ending up on the side of the road.

  13. Anonymous // July 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

    More crap from Dolt McGoofy and his Fiberals ... tax and spend is all they do while giving themselves very generous salaries, perks, free vacations and indexed pensions ... while loafing around pretending to do work ... at the next election, just ignore their "promises" and vote the Fiberal Freeloaders out ... all of them ... as well as the other Pinocchio politicians

  14. Anonymous // July 14, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

    I guess I will be doing more shopping over the river...

  15. Anonymous // July 24, 2010 at 12:45 AM  

    Home Depot charged me an eco tax fee on a BAG OF Earth! I can understand products that require special handling for disposal like paint or lights that have mercury but a BAG OF EARTH! The politicians and bureaucrats have gone too far with their lies and deceict.

  16. Anonymous // March 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM  

    The eco fee is good for frugality, bring it back.