McGuinty Government Forces Businesses to Pay for Liberal Mismanagement of RecyclingMay 18, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Environment Minister Jim Bradley needs to take immediate action to establish proper oversight of Stewardship Ontario, which is now running deficits in nearly all of its hazardous waste programs, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.
“As we’ve seen with the ongoing ORNGE scandal, governments that hand over responsibility to unaccountable agencies without proper oversight end up with excessive waste and mismanagement,” Harris said.
Last year, the Liberal government idly stood by, allowing Stewardship Ontario to rack up massive deficits in eight out of the nine categories in its phase one hazardous waste program. Topping the list was the paints and coatings category, with an accumulated deficit of nearly $6.5 million.
In February, Bradley chose to make businesses foot the bill for the Liberal government’s failure to properly manage waste diversion in Ontario when he introduced Regulation 11/12.
“To balance the books, the Minister has decided to empower an unaccountable government-protected monopoly to strong arm businesses into paying for the Liberal government’s mess,” Harris said.
As a result, companies, like Monarch Oil in Kitchener-Waterloo, have received bills from Stewardship Ontario with recycling fee increases reaching as much as 120%.
“Ontario’s waste diversion apparatus is broken. Despite setting a goal of 60% waste diversion in 2008, the Liberal government has only achieved a diversion rate of 23%. Still, Stewardship Ontario has managed to accumulate several multi-million-dollar deficits, which it is now forcing businesses to pay for,” Harris said.
“The only way to move waste diversion forward in Ontario is to establish proper oversight of recycling programs and allow companies to do business in a competitive marketplace,” Harris said. “To start this process, the Liberal government needs to take responsibility for their mess and stop hiding behind a complex layer of bureaucracy involving both Stewardship Ontario and its toothless regulator, Waste Diversion Ontario.”
• Stewardship Ontario is responsible for notifying and registering businesses to participate in Waste Diversion Ontario’s (WDO) programs and must calculate and collect the fees necessary to pay for the program. Stewardship Ontario is the implementation arm of WDO and the Ministry of the Environment for the Blue Box and Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) programs.
• Stewardship Ontario is an independent industry funded organization with a board of directors selected by industries with commercial connections to designated wastes.
• All identified producers of a designated material must pay the set program fees to Stewardship Ontario, or face penalties.
• Contrary to Liberal messaging that Stewardship Ontario is really responsible for the fees, and therefore not the government, Stewardship Ontario is only implementing a mandatory government program.
• It is the Minister of the Environment who designates wastes to which Stewardship Ontario is then required to operate and pay for a diversion program – which must be signed off on by the Minister.