It’s been about nine months since Toronto’s controversial five cent bag fee was officially rescinded but many retailers in the city are still charging the fee.
According to the new by-law it is entirely up to retailers to decide if they will continue to charge, and if so, how much.
Retailers however are still required to provide customers with carry-out bags that adhere to the city’s recycling program. The question on most consumers’ minds is where exactly do the profits from the fee go?
One Toronto store, Daiters Fresh Market, is actively involved in donating the profits from the fee to BaycrestHospital’s Palliative Care Unit. The store which has been at its current location since 1964 started the “Faye and Harry Daiter Palliative Care” donation fund before the five cent fee was even introduced.
The owner’s actually have a personal connection to Baycrest. Joel and Stephen Daiter’s parents were both volunteers at Baycrest for many years. Their mother had actually volunteered for 16 years on the palliative care floor.
Joel Daiter says making customers aware that the fee is going to charity makes it easier to swallow. As a result of the positive response they have even gone and purchased bigger, thicker plastic bags for their customers to use. Printed on the bag is information about the donation fund.
“We do get a lot of people actually coming here to buy bags to use at other places because they do know we are giving the money to Baycrest to use for palliative care”
“I would say 99 per cent of the people, when we told them we give to charity, no complaints at all they understood and we do give an option for paper bags if they want at no charge”
Since the five cent fee was started, Daiter’s has donated $7,678 to Baycrest, just from the bag tax.
Another positive outcome from this is according to Daiter is that by charging the nickel it has actually cut down plastic bag usage by 85 per cent in his store.
“The bags are definitely being used, but this way they aren’t being misused that’s all it is. I find people are re-using the bags all the time and that’s the way it should be”