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The Canadian Bottled Water Association strongly rejects the recent announcement by the Ontario government that beginning August 1, 2017, water bottlers will pay $503.71 for every million liters of groundwater taken.

“Yesterday’s massive fee increase for water bottling companies that take groundwater runs counter to what’s really needed to protect and conserve water for future generations,” said Elizabeth Griswold, Executive Director of the Canadian Bottled Water Association. “The entire bottled water industry in Ontario represents only 0.2 percent of all water takers in the province. My question to the government is what about the other 99.8 percent? To properly sustain the resource, everybody has to be involved.”

“It’s clear that the government has simply picked a nice round number to charge and developed the justification for it afterwards. The government is limited by law to charging only what covers the costs associated with administering water management programs. New, unrelated items such as outreach and research have absolutely nothing to do with the actual program costs,” added Griswold.

The announcement represents a 13,500 percent increase from the existing fee which has been in place since 2009 and comes at a time when the Ontario government is searching for ways to not only attract businesses to the province but also make life more affordable for Ontarians, not more expensive.

“Right now, over 70 percent of Ontario households consume bottled water,” said Griswold. “This decision by the government not only puts Ontario jobs at risk, but it also means consumers will likely start paying more for a healthy hydration product where demand is clearly growing.”

“This sets a dangerous precedent,” says Sandy Gott, a co-owner of Ice River Springs, North America’s only closed-loop recycling beverage company. “It’s not only unfair, but clearly there’s a political agenda here. We are a very small user of water in a clean, rural industry providing a healthy product. In our view, it’s just another fee we will have to pass on to the consumer and that’s unfair. All users should pay at some level. With this and the cost of power, it’s becoming very tough to do business in Ontario.”

Published in the August 2017 Edition of American Recycler News