Ontario farmers looking to purchase new tires for farming vehicles are now being forced to pay for an exponential increase in recycling fees.

Changes to recycling fees for the large tires — which are included in the tire purchase price — took effect Monday. For an average set of tractor tires, the price could go from $15.25 per tire to between $117 and $352. 

Recycling fees for extremely large off-road tires have gone up from $250 per tire to over $1300.

'There's no reason why that fee should have jumped.' —Tim Togeretz, OK Tire Kitchener

Ontario Tire Stewardship, a regulatory group that operates operates at arm's length from the province, has said the fees are relative to tire size and are driven by the true costs of responsible recycling.

However, Andrew Horsman, the group's executive director, told CBC News he expects most farmers should only have to pay about $47 per tire.

"70 per cent of the agricultural tires that are used … on what people would normally picture in their mind as a tractor on a mid-size farm, is going to be in that $47 category," said Horsman.

He added that more dramatic fee increases for tires used on larger commercial scale vehicles could potentially be introduced more gradually to mitigate the impact on farmers.

The group says the fee changes were made in consultation with tire manufacturers, equipment suppliers and retailers.

However, Tim Togeretz, president of OK Tire in Kitchener, says he cannot understand why the new fees are so high. He also worries the cost will negatively impact farmers and rise the cost of food.

"It’s going to go back to the consumer," said Togeretz. "There’s no reason why that fee should have jumped."

Marshall Schuyler, a farmer from Simcoe, says he does not know if the fee is justified. But he adds if Ontario farmers feel they are not receiving a fair deal, they will shop outside the province.

"There’s times when farm machinery is priced inappropriately in Ontario, people go to the States and buy it." said Schuyler. "I don’t know why tires would be any different."

The Ontario government directed regulatory groups including Ontario Tire Stewardship  in Feb. 2012 to revise the recycling fees based on a "cost recovery model."