July 16 2010 by Ellen Roseman
Gemma Zecchini, head of the group that runs the eco fee program, has given no interviews since the controversy began this month.
Typical of embattled CEOs, she picked late Friday to put out a news release apologizing for the embarassing mistakes.
â€œOur entire team feels terribly about the way in which our programs â€“ and the way they are paid for â€“ have angered consumers,â€ Zecchini said.
“We have listened to consumers and we have heard them, loud and clear.”
The organization will respond to criticism in the following ways:
* Post information on its website about the way it charges fees to the businesses that
manufacture, market, or sell products that ultimately wind up as waste.
* Ask consumers to contact the Stewardship Ontario call centre if they believe they
might have been over-charged, in order to help retailers to resolve any calculation errors
that may have been made.
* Advise businesses that they can’t charge eco fees in excess of Stewardship Ontario
guidelines, or they will face consequences for failing to comply with existing provincial
* And increase communications to encourage people to use the Orange Drop program and bring household hazardous waste â€“ like old paint cans and fluorescent light bulbs â€“ to a municipal depot, collection event or participating store.
Stewardship Ontario said it’s helping the government with policy options to ensure that fees are accurately applied on designated products and communicated transparently to consumers at the point of sale.
I think this announcement is not enough. Price errors have been made and will continue being made for the next few weeks or months.
The Ontario government should stop stores from passing along eco fees on customers’ bills until this mess is straightened out.