“The position was taken due to a rising number of concerns being raised by small businesses, which comprise a large percentage of our membership,” said Anita Huberman, CEO. “We’re concerned that the financial and administrative impact on business will result in much higher fees required to comply with the law, or administrative loads necessary to comply with these additional levels of red tape. This will increase the cost to business and in effect our economy.”
The Surrey Board of Trade is concerned that as businesses continue to struggle with a still fragile economy these additional fees and administrative pressures will force prices up, and create another level of bureaucracy imposed with little consultation, much ambiguity and no consideration for the problems now coming to light. Certain sectors such as the printing and publishing industries are facing serious consequences, which threaten their ability to continue in business at all. “This is not good for Surrey at all”, said Huberman.
There is considerable unhappiness with the way the program has been developed and imposed, with little apparent regard for the economic health of the business sector, as well as little regard for programs, such as newspaper recycling which is already highly successful. Some businesses have charged that the changes will result in additional charges for this collection, which currently returns about $120 per tonne.
At last year’s UBCM, the program was hotly debated and a number of communities rejected the financial incentives proposed by MMBC.
“Despite the May 19 deadline to enroll, the program is clearly not ready, and we strongly urge the provincial government to impose a delay in its implementation or stop it all together until these problems are resolved,” said Huberman. “The Surrey Board of Trade is prepared to participate with the provincial government assisting with stakeholder consultations and workshops to help resolve some of these issues. Of course we will also assist in disseminating program information, facilitating workshops and communicate to the monitoring table for this program.”
The intent of this program was to reduce waste, to reduce the packaging used in consumer goods. Instead business is now faced with actual added costs – and that is not acceptable.