NB Government Proposes Program with Hidden Fees, Increased Red Tape - Retailers Want Transparency and Harmonization

HALIFAX, Sept. 21, 2015 /CNW/ - The New Brunswick Government's proposal for recycling electronics is misguided; will hide eco-fees from consumers while inflicting costs on businesses that are not seen anywhere in Canada.

The government's proposal would force retailers to imbed the eco-fee within the retail price and hide it from the consumer on the point of sale receipt.  The eco-fee is the chosen approach in Canada to fund the costs of collecting and recycling end-of-life electronics. The government's directive would run counter to a retailer's national or regional harmonized approach while forcing retailers to advertise a different price in New Brunswick for in-store and online electronics purchases.  

New Brunswick is the last province in Canada to introduce a program for recycling end-of-life electronics. "Despite RCC's continual efforts, it is unfathomable that a government elected on a promise to increase transparency, would force businesses to hide fees from New Brunswick consumers.  Furthermore, for a government that publicizes its commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on businesses, it is disappointing that the New Brunswick government refuses to harmonize its electronics recycling program with proven practices that have been working for years in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and all across Canada," said Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director for Retail Council of Canada (RCC).  Programs for end-of-life electronics have been successfully implemented all across Canada by sharing and harmonizing best practices.  After years of delay in New Brunswick, retailers are dismayed that the provincial government is considering a Department of Environment recommendation to force an unworkable, inefficient and un-harmonized program on New Brunswick retailers.

"Retailers support stewardship programs and already take part in close to one hundred such programs across the country.  We would welcome the opportunity to manage efficient and relevant environmental stewardship programs in New Brunswick but the government proposal would force an unworkable, inefficient stewardship program on retailers.  The government plan would increase costs, create red tape and be out of step with best practices all across Canada," said Cormier. 

Cormier added, "This proposal will force retailers to develop separate flyers, a separate website and a separate point of sale system only for New Brunswick.  It will also mean that the advertised price for a television in New Brunswick will be higher than the advertised price for the same television, from the same retailer in Nova Scotia."

RCC has spent several years trying to inform the provincial government that this 'made in New Brunswick' proposal is not only bad for business but runs counter to best practices in electronics recycling that have been developed and harmonized across Canada. "This proposal doesn't provide better environment outcomes than the model used in the neighboring provinces. It is bad for business in New Brunswick and leaves consumers wondering why they are paying more than their neighbours."

Retail is Canada's largest employer with 2.2 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates payroll of $60 billion and $350 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) as of 2014. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members' represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association and represents small, medium and large retail business in every community across the country. As the Voice of Canadian retailers we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.

RetailCouncil.org    @RetailCouncil  @RCCMySTORE

SOURCE Retail Council of Canada

For further information: Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director, Retail Council of Canada, jcormier@retailcouncil.org, 902-818-7738


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