May 16, 2014 10:36 pm

New recycling tax impacts small business

WATCH (above): A controversial new recycling program that kicks in next week could put small businesses out of business. Ted Chernecki reports.

Small businesses believe they’re getting mixed messages from the provincial government when it comes to B.C.’s new Multi Material (MMBC)  recycling system that kicks in May 19.

On one hand small businesses are told they’re important ‘job generators’ to the economy and on the other, the new MMBC program could put many of them out of business.

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For TriV Pet Foods, who has been making canned pet foods in Chilliwack for 42 years, the new recycling fee imposed on the company may mean layoffs could be around the corner.

“It means approximately a $10,000 a month bill that I have to come up with the money to pay for that,” Clifford Jones, TriV Pet Foods told Global News.

“And at a time when everybody is in a restraint situation and our costs are going up continually our customers are not eager to take on much of any increase.”

WATCH: Businesses crying foul over new BC’s new recycling program

Jones said their rate is extremely high compared to other provinces and it makes him question the government’s knowledge of their rates and if an error was made in the calculations.

“We needed measures in place and some public accountability so we can make sure that this program is rolled out fairly,” Mike Klassen, Canadian Federation of Business, said.

“And if there are concerns from the public or small businesses or from local government then they can go to the provincial government and get answers.”

The bulk wholesale cost of each can is 25 cents but because the MMBC program is based on weight, Jones’ cost per can will go up three cents or 12 per cent, which is almost three times higher than what Ontario is charging business owners under a similar program.

“For a can of this type the cost would be under five cents per can,” said Mary Polak, BC Environment Minister.

“We believe that’s a reasonable cost but we’ll be reaching out to the business to make sure their calculations are correct.”

~ with files from Ted Chernecki

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