Higher eco fees going into effect in Ontario next month are nothing more than a government tax grab and will send many consumers to the United States looking for bargains, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak said Thursday.
The Ontario Electronic Stewardship posted plans on its website to increase eco fees on TV's over 29 inches to $39.50 from $27.60, and to lower fees on a home theatre in a box to $7.10 from $7.80, but the agency made little effort to inform the public.
"Clearly this is another Liberal tax grab that has no grounding in reality," said Hudak.
"Any time taxes go up it's going to cause people to look to purchase elsewhere. You'll see folks looking to go across the border."
The government maintains the eco fees are not taxes because they are administered by industry-led stewardship agencies, and the revenue does not go to the province.
No one buys that argument, said Hudak.
"When they hear that the industry is doing it and the Liberals are hands off on these eco taxes, they're rightly calling out bull on that one," he said.
"The Liberal approach under (former premier) Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne is just a tax grab for an expensive bureaucracy."
Starting on May 1, eco fees for desktop and portable computers will drop slightly to $3 and $1.50 respectively, while fees for new telephones and answering machines will jump from $1 to $1.50. Eco fees will also increase on cameras, DVD and Blu-ray players, video and audio recorders and after-market car stereos.