Ontario magazines are facing a 53% price increase in the blue box levy enforced by Stewardship Ontario. According to the 2009 fee schedule, participating magazines (consumer titles with gross Ontario revenues of $2 million and over) will pay 3.373 cents per kilogram of paper produced this year, up from the 2.182 cents per kilogram paid last year. When the program was introduced, in 2003, the rate for magazines was 0.081 cents per kilo.
The Stewardship Ontario program places 50% of Ontario blue box recycling costs onto businesses that use recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, aluminum, steel and glass.
Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison has sent a letter to Ontario minister for the environment John Gerretson, asking that he order Stewardship Ontario to hold levies to 2008 rates until an ongoing study on waste diversion s completed.
It is clear, given the current economic situation that Stewardship Ontario’s unilateral move demonstrates, again, how out of touch this agency is with market realities.
Further, there is no evidence that foreign publishers will begin to contribute in 2009.
Magazines Ontario’s view is that, at this stage, only Ministerial intervention can arrest these damaging approaches – approaches that appear to be driven by the inefficiency of the blue box program where, in fact, magazines and other print material represent an opportunity to generate revenues and by a failure of governance at Stewardship Ontario.
Magazines Canada has often complained that Canadian publishers are forced to pay the way for foreign publishers, who do not contribute to the Stewardship Ontario program, yet who circulate thousands of magazines in the province that end up in blue boxes.