Toasters hit with tariff to reflect bread’s value

By Brian Jackson

Editor’s note: This is a satirical take on today’s news article (read it here) about a request by the Canadian Private Copying Collective to the Copyright Board of Canada to place a tariff on microSD cards, to reflect the value of the songs copied to them by users. It was suggested that a loaf of bread could serve as analogy for a song, as a product that consumers regularly purchase…

The Lunching Rights Board of Canada has made a decision that a tariff request made by the Canadian Bread Creator’s Collective (CBCC) will be allowed, and a tariff will be charged on various tools that allow consumers to eat their bread in different forms starting in 2012.

Consumers can expect to pay an additional fee on sandwich presses and toasters starting in the New Year, as the Lunching Rights Board agreed that such instruments derive value from bread, and bread makers should be paid for that value. Toasters that only fit bread slices will carry an extra fee of $0.50 per toaster, while toasters that are wide enough to fit bagels will have a $1 fee. Deluxe toasters that fit four slices or more will carry an extra $3 fee, as will sandwich presses.

Brian Jackson, Associate Editor,
Brian Jackson, Associate Editor,

“Everyone is making money from bread except for the bakers,” says Daniel Pikeson, a board member with the CBCC. “The people selling the toasters are getting paid, the people selling sandwich grills are getting paid, but the bakers aren’t seeing compensation for the value they’re creating.”

Without bread, there’d be little point to using a toaster, Pikeson says.

While importers of toasters will cut the cheque for the CBCC, the costs will likely be passed on to consumers. Asked whether most consumers feel they have the right to eat bread however they’d damn well like after purchasing a loaf of it, Pikeson responded that it’s a value for value proposition.

“People pressing some pastrami between two slices of rye on their grill obviously value the bread,” he says. “You can’t really argue there is no value to the bread in this form, because without it, that would be a really sad sandwich.”

Collecting the levy makes bread modification legal, Pikeson argues. Until the tariff was in place, Canadians making toasted sandwiches with no care for the rights of bakers were breaking the law, he says.

How Canadians are consuming their bread became a minor election issue earlier this year when the Conservative Party came out against a proposed levy on microwaves. Calling the tariff a “Microwave tax,” the party campaigned on the promise that Canadians would not have to pay an additional fee on microwaves they buy, just because they will probably use it to warm up bread at some point.

The Federal Court has also previously determined microwaves don’t meet the definition of a bread modification system. People are more likely to microwave things like popcorn, cold coffee, and other crap like that, a judge said. Butter knives also avoided a tariff, despite their use to sever crust from bread, and slather it with condiments such as fruit jams or peanut butter.

But the CBCC argued toasters met the Lunching Right Board’s definitions after conducting market research asking Canadians how they usually use their toasters.

“The overwhelming majority of it was for bread,” Pikeson says. “There was some use for Pop Tarts and frozen waffles, but not a lot.”

The tariff goes into effect Jan. 1. The CBCC is responsible for collecting the funds and distributing it to bakers that have had their bread altered before consumption.


Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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