Toronto-area Freezie company not eligible for hydro relief

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WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto-area frozen treat company is among many Ontario businesses not eligible for hydro price relief. As Sean O'Shea reports, Kisko products have seen a $100,000 rate increase in one year – Apr 4, 2017

The Toronto-area company that makes the Freezie, a traditional summer frozen treat, won’t get any piece of the Ontario Liberal government’s recently-announced electricity rate relief plan.

“We get nothing back – we pay and pay,” said Mark Josephs, president of Kisko Products, which make Freezies and other frozen foods.

With 85 full-time staff and 120 seasonal workers, he said his business does not qualify for a rate discount.

READ MORE: Budget watchdog to examine Ontario hydro relief plan after PCs question Liberal math

Last year, his family-owned company saw dramatic price increases for electricity.

“Our bill went up by $100,000 between the 2015 and 2016 seasons,” he said, adding electricity makes up about five per cent of the company’s overhead costs.

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“We had years we didn’t even make $100,000. Breaking even and surviving was a major challenge for us,” said Josephs.

READ MORE: Ontario to slash hydro bills by 25%, but ratepayers will face higher costs in the future

Kisko Products is among many companies worried about the effects of rising electricity prices. It’s concerned that higher utility prices will make it difficult to hire staff, raise wages or expand operations.

Kisko was founded in 1977 by Leslie and Glenor Josephs. They originally introduced SNO CONES in Jamaica in 1968. Mark Josephs took charge of the business after his father’s death in 2007.

Josephs said Kisko is committed to buying supplies, including plastic film and corrugated containers, from Ontario companies even though he said they could save money by purchasing materials from offshore companies.

READ MORE: Ontario hydro crisis timeline: How did we get here and what comes next?

“We believe it’s important to support (Ontario) suppliers here,” he said, adding it’s a practice that is a core value.

But Josephs said if government policy doesn’t change “more and more businesses are going to pack up and move to the United States where they’re offering tax incentives.”

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“I don’t know what the answers are, but someone has to come up with the answers to bring things under control where hydroelectric costs are completely out of whack.”

With files from Alana MacLeod

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