Consideration of Bill 7, An Act to amend certain Acts related to Municipalities concerning Waste Management / Loi modifiant certaines lois relatives aux municipalités en ce qui concerne la gestion des déchets.
The Chair: Our first presentation will be from the Ontario Waste Management Association. Good morning. If you'd like to get comfortable and then introduce yourselves for the purposes of our Hansard recording, you may begin. You have been allocated about 55 minutes by the committee.
Mr Carl Lorusso: Good morning. My name is Carl Lorusso. I'm the president of the Ontario Waste Management Association. Joining me here today to also represent the association is our vice-president, Nancy Porteous-Koehle, and our director of public affairs, Terry Taylor.
The OWMA is very pleased that we have the opportunity to appear before this committee. We believe that our opinions will be helpful to you in this debate. I say this because of the extremely important role our members play in Ontario's waste management and recycling industries. We are an integral part of those industries.
My comments this morning will touch on three topics. First, I want to briefly describe our association for the benefit of those who many not be familiar with us. Secondly, I want to talk about the process that has accompanied the promulgation of this legislation. Finally, I want to speak in support of some of the amendments which will be introduced during the clause-by-clause debate, as indicated last week by the Honourable Ed Philip. OWMA believes that these changes will strengthen the bill and make it a more relevant piece of legislation.
The OWMA represents the private sector. Our nearly 300 members are involved in every aspect of the waste management and recycling business. Together, we handle over 80% of the industrial, commercial and institutional waste streams and 100% of Ontario's hazardous waste. Additionally, our members have contracts with 75% of Ontario's municipalities to provide residential waste collection services.
We also own and operate landfill sites, transfer stations and energy-from-waste facilities. We are involved in many public-private partnerships. OWMA members are also actively engaged in all 3Rs activities. One of our members invented the blue box program, which is now supported by over three million Ontario households.
We operate material recovery facilities and remarket Ontario's recyclable materials throughout the world. Our members conduct waste audits for their customers and provide them with expert advice on the implementation of waste minimization strategies.
We're here today to comment on Bill 7. It's a piece of legislation that deals with two issues. One is waste management and the other is municipal powers. As you can appreciate, our focus is on the waste management aspects of the bill. We have no opinion to express nor any comments to make with respect to either the political or the financial relationship between the municipalities. Such comments from the OWMA would not be appropriate.
This bill is the result of extensive consultation that centred on a discussion paper which was released by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in early 1992. That document was called Initiatives Paper No 3. It could be best described as an options paper, and believe me, from the private sector's viewpoint, some of those options were pretty damned scary.
Suffice it to say, had all the anti-private sector options been included in this legislation, the private waste industry in this province would have been destroyed. In our submission to the ministry on Initiatives Paper No 3 we said that any new municipal powers should extend only to the waste streams handled by the public sector. The private sector is already extensively regulated by the province. It should not be subjected to further regulation by municipalities.
In our opinion, market forces are sufficiently dynamic to eliminate the need for artificially regulated disposal fees or designated disposal sites. These constraints would eliminate competition and drastically increase the cost of waste management programs for thousands of Ontario's businesses. In fact, simply because these options were even contained in the discussion paper was the cause of a great deal of anxiety among our members. Many companies put their business expansion plans on hold.
No substantial additional investments have been made in the last 15 months by OWMA members. We have been waiting to find out what new powers over the private sector would be given to the municipalities by the province. Obviously, we could not risk losing our investments if in fact the bill unfairly favoured municipalities.
In late April 1993, prior to its introduction into the House, the ministry briefed us on this bill. We left that meeting thinking that the ministry had found our earlier presentations meaningful. We had been told that none of the options outlined in the discussion paper which we identified as being harmful to the private sector had been incorporated into this new bill.
However, once we had the opportunity to actually read Bill 7, we found several sections which we felt could be interpreted by municipalities contrary to the intent of the legislation. Such diverse interpretations could, in our opinion, result in the kind of regulatory environment at a municipal level that would be very harmful to the private sector. Investment would be stifled and a competitive industry employing thousands of people could be destroyed.
We immediately contacted the staff of the ministries of Environment and Municipal Affairs. We expressed our reservations about some of the troublesome wordings. We outlined some scenarios where a municipality's adverse interpretation could result in consequences unintended by the ministry.
In order to avoid these difficulties, we suggest that the text of the bill be amended so that it defines exactly the extent to which a municipality has regulatory power over a waste management system which it does not own, operate or control. In other words, we want to ensure that any of these new municipal powers apply only to the waste management services and facilities of the public sector. After all, we have been told by the ministry staff that this is the intent of the legislation. We think it should be just as clear as possible.
The ministry staff agreed that the original wording could be misconstrued by a municipality. As long as that possibility exists, those companies in the private sector that want to invest more capital and create more jobs will refrain from doing so.
We worked with the ministry staff and agreed upon a number of amendments which I am asking today that all members of this committee support. For your convenience, we have listed our preferred version of these amendments at the end of this presentation.
We ask that with respect to the Municipal Act, section 208.1, the definition of a "waste management system" be amended so that it specifically means the services and facilities owned, operated and controlled by a local municipality or other public body. Amending this definition is crucial if you want to send a message to the private sector that you believe there is a future for it in Ontario's waste management and recycling industries.
This apparently is a message that Minister Wildman wants to send. During second reading debate in the House, he is quoted in Hansard on May 4, 1993, on page 514 as follows: "It's important for us to recognize...that the legislation will give municipalities the clear power to handle residential waste. As for waste generated by the ICI sector, the industrial, commercial and institutional sector, the provincial government will continue to look to the private waste industry to deal with those materials."
In subsection 209(10.1), we ask you to support the change to the term "collection of waste" to read the "collection, handling and transportation of waste," which in our opinion is more indicative of the dynamics of our industry. To be consistent, this change must also be made to subsection 151(1) of the Regional Municipalities Act, as set out in section 5 of Bill 7.
Before I conclude, I want to express our disappointment that a planned amendment may not be brought forward by the minister. It would, we think, promote harmonization between the Municipal Act and the 3Rs regulations announced by the MOEE on April 29 of this year.
These regulations encourage increased 3Rs activities by allowing permit-by-rule facilities to be established without having to obtain a certificate of approval under part V of the Environmental Protection Act.
However, the Municipal Act, in subsection 209(10), grants exclusive jurisdiction to counties for waste management services and facilities. Any new facilities must obtain approval from the county, which may not be readily given.
It seems incongruous that, on the one hand, you would enact new regulations to encourage the development of these facilities by eliminating the red tape, but on the other hand, still require them to obtain further approval of the county.
Therefore, we had suggested that subsection 209(10.1) be broadened to also exempt these permit-by- rule facilities. Such a change would have eliminated another layer of regulation and bureaucracy, and that is always an additional incentive to the private sector to invest.
That being said, your vote to incorporate these other amendments into this legislation will provide the necessary assurances to our members. That, in turn, will result in increased economic activity, meaning more jobs at our membership's companies and more jobs at the companies of their equipment suppliers, and to a limited extent it will also increase activity in those areas designed to promote 3Rs strategies. Surely, these are results which all elected members can support, whether they're in government or in opposition.
The process which accompanied the promulgation of this legislation is a perfect example of how laws should be made in participatory democracy. Ideas are floated, comment is invited, legislation is drafted and problem areas are identified before the legislation is passed. It demonstrates that the elected and the electors can work together for the common good.
In closing, let me publicly acknowledge the efforts of the staff at both the Environment and Energy ministry and at Municipal Affairs. They are true professionals. Our concerns have been dealt with expeditiously and with understanding. Every effort has been made to clarify the intent of the legislation so that the anxiety of the private sector can be eliminated. I cannot speak highly enough about the cooperation which we have received from these people.
The Chair: Thank you, and I should say on behalf of the members that we always appreciate constructive comments by way of proposed amendments that are contained in your brief. The first caucus, Steve Offer.
Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): Thank you very much for your presentation. I find the Chair has indicated that it's very helpful, when you speak about a particular piece of legislation, that you talk about what the legislation means to you, and make what I see are some very constructive suggestions to clarify the ministerial intent of the bill, and that's, as I see it, what you're saying.
I guess, Mr Chair, my question is directed through you and through the deputants to the parliamentary assistant and to the ministry staff, and that would be, there have been specific proposals for change; there has been indication that there is agreement by ministry staff to those changes. I would like to know whether in fact those amendments as proposed by the Ontario Waste Management Association will be tabled by the government and if those amendments are here today so that we can take a look at them to make certain they are in keeping with the wording of the OWMA as per its discussions with ministry staff.
Mr Offer: The OWMA has indicated that it has been having some discussions with ministry staff over changes to the legislation to make certain that the legislation is in keeping with the minister's statement, and my question would be to the parliamentary assistant and to ministry staff: Are you going to be proposing amendments in the wording as suggested by the OWMA? If so, we would like to see those proposed amendments.
Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): If I may, I'm certainly not speaking against the members making the presentation here, but I think it would also be wise for this committee to hear all the briefings here and then make the decisions as to amendments. I don't think we're going to be just making amendments as we go along. We're not speaking in opposition to your amendments, but I think it's most important that we hear all briefs.
Mr Offer: I have a great concern with the response by the parliamentary assistant, because OWMA -- and we all know about the great work done by this association -- has indicated in its presentation that ministry staff agreed that the original wording could be misconstrued by a municipality, that it has worked with ministry staff and agreed upon a number of amendments, and it is asking today that all members of the committee support.
I am questioning whether the parliamentary assistant and ministry staff are going to be proposing amendments that are in keeping with the proposals made by OWMA. I think that is the very least we can do for this association, which is coming before us on a very important bill --
Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): On a point of order, Mr Chair: This is the first of many deputants who are going to be in front of us. I think the question to the parliamentary assistant is somewhat premature. In perhaps understanding why he would want to ask that question, I could foresee this type of question being asked perhaps at a later date. We're here to ask questions of the deputants and I would like to proceed that way.
The Chair: Order. Mr Offer has the floor. Traditionally, it is used to ask questions of the deputants, but he has a limited time in which to ask his questions. The parliamentary assistant need not reply if he does not wish, but I would suggest the best use of our time may be to speak directly to the deputants. Mr Offer.
Mr Offer: Thank you. I will say, before I just hand it over to Mr Grandmaître, I am very concerned with this because now I am hearing that the deputation, if that will make Mr Mammoliti feel a little bit more at ease, has indicated, and it has read this into the record, that there is agreement for amendments. That's the deputation. I am asking whether the government is going to be proposing the amendments as per the agreement.
Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I think it's very, very important that we should establish some principles. The fact that the OWMA is the first presenter, I think it's very important that we should establish --
Mr Grandmaître: We will be hearing from other interested groups, and I think it's important that we establish for sure if these amendments or these proposals, these agreements between the two parties, the ministry and this group, will come forward. I think it would be very helpful for this committee to carry on in the next two or three weeks, as long as we have to sit -- that these amendments are part of the total agreement. I think it's very serious. If these people were promised that some amendments would be introduced, I think it's only fair to this group and also fair to this committee to establish that these amendments will be part and parcel of the new bill when it leaves this committee. I think it's very important. To tell us today that they don't know what they'll be approving, I think is very unfair to this group and very unfair to this committee.
Mr Hayes: Like I said earlier, I find it's rather interesting that the Ontario Waste Management Association comes in here and tells us about the good cooperation that we do have, and then gets into a committee and you have members who start to play games right off the bat.
The thing is, Mr Chair, that certainly we will be looking at these amendments and we'll have amendments, but the normal procedure in this type of committee is not just to start dealing clause-by-clause before you even hear all the presentations from the people who want to participate in this committee. The process in this committee, and I think you've already indicated that, is that if the members have questions at this particular time and they want clarifications on the presentation, they would ask the people who are making the presentations and not to be playing games back and forth.
We have had a lot of cooperation, we'll continue to have the cooperation and we will be certainly looking at the amendments that you have here. That's pretty well all I have to say at this present time.
Mr Hayes: -- there will be changes made and we will look favourably upon their suggested amendments to the bill. That's what I can tell you at this present time. We're not here to play games with such a serious bill that we want passed here that's going to benefit everybody in this province.
Mr Tilson: It doesn't look like we're going to get anywhere with this topic, Mr Chairman, so I'll proceed to another one. Hopefully, the government members will be able to have a response to the questions shortly, because that's the whole purpose of this brief. We ask these people to come and give comments and there doesn't seem to be any.
However, Mr Chairman, through you to the delegation: One of the issues, of course, with waste management is the blue box program, and there have been several derogatory remarks made by fairly well-known municipal politicians who hadn't a lot of good words to say with respect to the blue box program. Do you as an organization have any thoughts as to whether or not the blue box program should continue?
Mr Lorusso: Certainly, we do. We support waste reduction by means of residential recycling, without question. I think that some of the comments that we've heard recently is the cost of the blue box. There's no question that it's more labour-intensive, of course, both to collect and to sort, and it also requires some specialized equipment.
There is some lack of competition in the secondary markets surrounding the blue box program. I think there are a couple of key issues you have to look at. Number one is the support by a product stewardship program to follow up with blue box costing. I think you also have to look at the cost of picking it up. Some of the municipalities have to take a serious look at their costs, whether they contract it out or do it themselves, and start comparing to other municipalities on that costing.
I think there was a study done recently, the Dewees study, that clearly showed that municipal collections being done by themselves was far more expensive than the private sector doing it. I think it was up to 70% more expensive.
Mr Lorusso: In our industry, when all you're dealing with is the collection and processing of material, that's all you do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, of course any new innovation that could possibly come out, you're going to look at it, because that's your competitive edge over the next company.
Having said that, in a municipality there's an awful lot of areas of concern they have to deal with. Probably the expertise and attention given to the collection system is not there as it is in the private sector. Clearly, that's what their concern is at all times.
Mr Tilson: Another criticism that comes out with respect to recycling is that there's no place to put the stuff, that they're warehousing it all over the place. They can't find the industries to take it.
Mr Lorusso: Certainly. We believe that if there should be any investment done by the provincial government or the municipalities, it should be into research and development on the final result of collection of recycled materials. We have to get better at that in all aspects of the industry. We have to create the markets and we have to make the markets available to accept it on an ongoing basis. When you're dealing with any kind of material that comes out of the waste stream, be it recyclables or non-recyclables, the stream and the homes for the material have to be consistent. You can deal with the cost of either getting rid of it or what you receive for it, but the stream consistency is very important.
Mr Tilson: I'm sure I will. I'd like to ask some questions on the government's policy of disposal of tires, which is a major problem in municipalities around this province in that they end up having to dispose of them. Of course, you can't bury them, you can't burn them, you can't ship them out of the country and very little money has been spent on ways to dispose of them. Do you have any comments on the government's policy with respect to the recycling of tires or the disposal of tires?
Mr Lorusso: I believe that, number one, it's part of the free market. I think sometimes what we do in this industry is we try to isolate a certain area of the material, as in tires. I think the money's been spent on the investment of trying to recycle tires, but we're not doing enough. So I think the government's policy should be more to find a total solution to end this. I agree that you hear quite regularly that the money is being spent on investigating better means of handling tires, but we still do end up with quite a supply of tires kicking around. So there has to be more investment and there has to be a little more thorough search to solve that problem once and for all.
Mrs Nancy Porteous-Koehle: And not being allowed the free movement of this product, because when you come into recycling, you're now into product management. It's no longer just waste; it now is a commodities market that you're into. So in order to compete worldwide in a commodities market, you need the availability to go across political lines. You need to be able to compete in a free market system. So therefore, being curtailed to just the province of Ontario, yes, it's great, and I'm sure that the research and development in the private sector will come up with many solutions here in the province, but they also need the opportunity to cross that artificial political boundary when it comes to a commodity. That's very difficult.
Mr Tilson: I agree. One of the concerns of this legislation and other pieces of legislation, such as Bill 143, is the issue of financing. The government is putting forward all kinds of wonderful plans. Waste management is wonderful. We obviously have to develop it. The difficulty is it's the old question of who's going to pay for it.
In your discussions with the government, can you help this committee, because the government isn't telling us its plans as to how all this is going to be paid for, whether it's going to be dumped on the municipalities or where it's going to go, or whether it's going to be making contributions. Are you able to enlighten us from any discussions you've had with ministry officials?
Mr Lorusso: Firstly, we have to clearly identify the two streams of waste. We have the industrial, commercial and institutional waste stream and we have the residential waste stream. Clearly, the message is the ICI requires no funding. We will take care of the ICI waste stream. We'll take care of the research and the development. We'll take care of charging the independent customers the right amount of money that they need to pay --
Secondly, when you get to the residential waste stream, there have to be a couple of areas where continued support has to come from. One is possibly user-pay. That's a small part of it. Again, the product stewardship has got to come forward. It's got to be a new means of financing. The old, traditional money market out of a landfill site has got to end. It's basically ended, because we've overpriced landfills in this province and hence the market in the United States has opened up to us. So we can't look at that as a means of funding. We have to look at product stewardship, and certainly user-pay could assist in that. Nancy, do you want to follow up on that?
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: I know a lot of the companies would like to bring their waste back into Ontario and dispose of it in environmentally secure sites in the province of Ontario. Unfortunately, what has happened in the province of Ontario, because of some monopolies by municipalities, the tipping rate has skyrocketed. So, as a result, if we could just get the tipping --
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: It's not going down low enough, unfortunately. If we can convince municipalities to make a competitive tipping rate and enforce the product bans of the recyclable material, I think you'll see a lot more of Ontario waste coming back home and staying within the province and the recycling taking place, if those bans are aggressively enforced by municipalities. You'd see more research and development if you could get those two things tied in together.
Mr Tilson: That's one of the issues that certainly the opposition parties have been looking at, the whole emphasis in the government on research and development. I don't know what research and development is going on. There doesn't seem to be very much. The minister in the House has commented specifically on tires, for example, some nominal, it sounded like pilot projects, in some of the areas, but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of research and development going on around the province. Have you any thoughts on that from a government perspective?
Mr Lorusso: The waste reduction office had a number of strategy teams that dealt with different elements of the recycling stream. There was one on paper, fibre, there was another one on construction materials and also one on plastics. I don't know if tires were involved with that. I think tires may have been part of that as well. They're truly trying to bring together the people who are closely involved in those materials, either handling them or processing them or end-using them.
There have been a lot of high learning levels achieved, I might add, in some of those waste strategy teams. There is an attempt to look at them and analyse them and start dealing with them in a very realistic way, other than a very blue-sky way, which is an association we're always glad to be part of.
Mr Lorusso: I think you really have to look at the cost of landfilling. I agree that there are extreme costs to site, close and take care for ever of the landfill sites as they sit. But really, if you look at what's happening in the United States, if you look at what's happened in the past in Ontario, the cost of landfilling can be done and charged at a lot less of a rate than it is today. I think $150 a tonne -- that was the Keele Valley rate not so long ago -- is truly and clearly a real grab at the businesses in Ontario to have to help to support that.
In our opinion, and obviously it's reality, the landfill sites in the United States where a lot of the waste is going are under the same regulations as the landfill sites are here and the same control afterwards. If they can charge enough money less than what they can in Toronto to still include the transportation of that waste from the GTA down to the United States, it's clearly too much money.
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: Just on that, one of the reasons why the municipalities feel compelled, in my opinion, to charge these high rates is because they feel responsible for the total waste stream and that they're going to have to come up with the solutions for ever and a day on how to handle waste recyclables and reduction programs. I know what the private sector is trying to get across, and we've opened discussions with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to explain to it that it is not necessary to invest taxpayers' dollars in all the facilities, even on the residential side.
There are many MRFs, material recovery facilities, down in the States and throughout Ontario where private sector will come in and invest the money, working in partnership, so that the municipality has control over the contract, has control over the operations, but it's private sector that comes in and works in agreement with those in a partnership arrangement.
Somehow, the private sector is trying to get across to the municipalities that yes, okay, if you want to do residential recycling, you don't have to supply all the facilities. All you have to do is put together a legislative type of environment that would encourage a private sector company to come in, build the MRF, operate it and say it reverts back to the municipality in 20 years. But there are many contracts out there in existence where municipalities can garner private sector dollars to do what the municipalities need to do.
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: I'm trying to think. I'm not heavily involved in the composting plant that we're building out in Trenton through IPS, but perhaps your delegates before you will have hands-on experience. I would think that if the money's there they would come for a grant, but they would set up the whole operation on their own.
Mr David Johnson: And it would be like a tipping fee? Is that what you're talking about, a tipping fee to put the material in? And then, I guess, there'd be a little bit of revenue in terms of selling material out there.
Mr David Johnson: The Interim Waste Authority has spent $30 million to $35 million and it's onward and upward, and heaven only knows, they'll never find a site in southern Ontario, in my view, so there's a great deal of money that's being spent in a search for a landfill site in southern Ontario.
In your view, what would be a reasonable, in terms of all the costs, tipping fee that would include costs of finding a site, costs of maintaining a site, perpetual care for the site, what should a reasonable tipping fee be that would cover all of those kinds of costs?
Mr Lorusso: I can't give you that exact answer. I'm not privy to the detailed cost structure, but my experience tells me correctly that a few years ago, the cost of running the landfill and the cost of the transfer stations to transfer the material to the landfill, and the operation of the landfill, was approximately $28 a metric tonne. That's off the top of my head.
Now I'm sure that you could probably look at another $20 to $30 -- and these are my own estimates, they're not backed -- on further care for a landfill and possibly investigating the cost of a new one down the road.
To me, I would think that if you were looking around the $50 to $60 range to operate a landfill site in the southern Ontario area, you would have the materials back; you'd be able to exercise the bans which the private sector keeps promoting. We want bans, we want to keep the materials that could be recycled out of the landfills. We need the bans to support that. There's got to be a happy medium when this could all take place.
Mr David Johnson: Okay, just maybe one technical question then. You had, I think, the very first amendment dealing with the flow control and it amended the definition of waste management system, right at the beginning.
There was some concern later on in the bill, under section 208, page 9 of the bill, a designation of facilities, for example. But I see, under designation of facilities, the term "waste management system" is again used. So it's your view that by redefining the term at the front of the bill, that covers all of the concerns spread throughout the bill with regard to flow control.
Mr Wiseman: On page 2, in the lower right-hand corner you talk about interpretations of regulatory environment and municipal law. What you're really talking about is you do not want Metropolitan Toronto freezing the private sector out of MRFs and out of the ability to be in that market. Is that correct?
Mr Lorusso: I think what we're saying is that we don't want any municipality to have the option to look for funds that could be readily made available, if they were able to have the control of the waste stream and to force it to go -- and that goes for right across Ontario, but certainly Toronto is a concern.
Mr Wiseman: You use monopolies by municipalities, and clearly, from what I am seeing out of Metropolitan Toronto and out of the works department, they are setting themselves up in direct competition to the private sector when it comes to material recovery facilities and recycling and waste management.
Mr Wiseman: That leads me to my next question. Does it make any economic sense to allow the owner of the landfill site to also be the agent responsible for the 3Rs? Is that not a conflict of interest?
Mr Lorusso: No, certainly not. If you want to go back in time, it would be like saying to the garbagemen, "Why would you ever want to recycle when you make your money by throwing it all in the back of the truck?" The realities are that you have to have waste reduction. If the private company cannot show its customer base waste reduction, the company next to them will.
So I don't buy that any more. I think that the realities of what has to be done in this province are very clear and that as long as there is an enforcement possibility to confirm that that takes place -- and I'm speaking of the private sector again here -- I don't believe that's a concern for the private sector. We'd like the opportunity to be able to show that we could do that.
Mr Terry Taylor: Mr Wiseman, just let me follow along your line of thinking there. I think you're quite correct that there is a possibility for a conflict of interest if the landfill owner does compromise on the material bans. If he lets the material in, then of course there's a problem. The system will work if the material bans are rigidly enforced at the gate.
Mr Lorusso: I can comment on that. You know, there's some real difficulties when you look at the cost of supporting even the ICI system. The higher tipping fee was probably initially started to penalize those that didn't recycle, but now all of a sudden you've got to be concerned with the people who are recycling, the people who are doing what they should be doing and taking the materials out of their waste stream. Should they not be somehow rewarded? So there you've immediately created a two-tier system. You've got to penalize those who don't do it but you congratulate and reward those that do. So you really can't have one tipping fee.
Mr Lorusso: Right off the bat, it's because the industry has changed so much. The industry is now just not the collection of waste and we may as well address all the amendments to clarify that there is more than just the collection, so we wanted to introduce those two other areas to round out the system.
Mr Fletcher: Let me start again by saying that I'm probably one of the strange New Democrats sitting here because I don't think municipalities or government should be involved in the collection of waste. I agree it should be perhaps contracted out to private enterprise. I think there's a lot of money to be made in waste collection and recycling and everything else. Garbage is big business now, and I agree it is.
As far as research and development is concerned, I don't think government should be spending hard-earned tax dollars when private industry can do it. Again, I look at the private industry and creating some partnerships where the government can set the regulations and make sure that the environment is being protected, make sure that you're doing everything right but allow private industry to start getting more and more involved. I do think without the reins of government that it would be a lot better system than what we have now. I don't think municipalities and governments are running this system as well as they should be. That's just my personal comment. Your company is involved in a lot of research and development. In what areas?
Mr Lorusso: I could give you an example of my own company. I know we've spent a tremendous amount of money looking at a waste stream that we started looking at before Initiatives Paper No 1 even came about, and that was paper in office buildings. We knew that probably 70% of all materials generated in an office building was paper, and we were hauling it all to one facility.
As a company, we decided we had to look at a means to pull the material out of the system in an easy way; secondly, to find the market that was going to be guaranteed before we pulled it out; and thirdly, to be able to go into the customer base and convince them that this was the proper way to go. It was going to fall in line with (1) bans that were going to be constructed on landfill sites; (2) initiatives by the government that there was going to be mandatory source separation; and (3) in their abilities to rent out their space, they want to be able to do everything for the tenants that is possible, and certainly waste reduction and recycling were high on the list of priorities for the office buildings.
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: Our company built a $26-million facility down in New Toronto and Etobicoke to recycle -- I believe it was the first in Ontario, if not in North America -- a full stream of dry ICI waste. We brought in some high technology from Sweden and incorporated that into the plant, and we're working that through the system still. It's an ongoing education process to the waste generator. We're still making refinements to that plant and I guess we always will; we'll just constantly make it more productive, more efficient.
Mr Fletcher: As far as government regulations are concerned, you have been involved with the ministry and you have some agreements, and perhaps Mr Hayes will touch on that, but in terms of private industry doing the operation, doing the work, you are willing to work with the government and with municipalities?
Mr Hayes: I think I would be remiss in not clarifying something here for all members' information and for you, rightfully so, that we did say that we would certainly look at amendments and have amendments ready. I want the members to know that the presentation the Minister of Municipal Affairs made to this committee said: "Since Bill 7 was introduced, we've had discussions with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Ontario Waste Management Association. As a result of those discussions, we are prepared to introduce an amendment during clause-by-clause debate that would further clarify that municipalities shall not have flow control powers."
I do have one question. You have the concern about the added powers to the municipalities, but if you want to have a recycling operation or even a landfill, you still have to have, even at this present time, permission from the municipality. I'm just wondering how you figure that this actually changes that. The other question would be, are you having problems with that now? What makes this legislation put more of a burden on you?
Mr Lorusso: It's very early. Initiatives Paper No 1, has just been released April 29, I believe; it's effective date is August 1. There really hasn't been a clear opportunity to open a recycling facility under the parameters set out in that regulation, so it is a little early to say.
I think we're basically saying that if we're going to eliminate red tape, let's eliminate it all the way through the process. We will survive if we have to deal with the municipalities and getting their permission to do it, as we have in the past. It was just an attempt to follow through with Initiatives Paper No 1, to complete the ease of the system.
Mr Wiseman: One of the issues that is absolutely of paramount importance is community involvement in all of these issues. In my community, and you've probably heard this more than once, we have had a very, very, very bad experience with Metro's landfilling at Brock West. It has not gone well. Conestoga-Rovers is one of the worst landfill sites, by their own engineers' reports, in North America.
My community is absolutely concerned with the accountability process of the siting of landfill sites. One of the things that has been constant is that Metro Toronto has managed to keep most people out of that landfill site, keeping them away from checking on cover material, leachate collection, on all of these things.
Would you have any serious objections or any concerns about having in the legislation something that would require any siting of a landfill site to also require that their community liaison group be there to monitor and to give the community some assurance that what's happening in there is best environmentally?
Mr Lorusso: I think in the view of all the private sector, environmentally safe landfills are of the highest priority. I don't think there's a whole lot needed to make it any longer a process than it is now to open up a landfill site, but I think rules and regulations should be set out and clearly, clearly are for all sides of the partners where landfills are concerned, be it municipal or be it private landfill. Those regulations should be very stringent and they should be on a timely basis to monitor, to follow through the life of the landfill and then after the landfill closes. I believe you have to build in that regulation, operational legislation, more than we need extending the process of opening a landfill. Nancy may have some comments on that.
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: Mr Wiseman, you're absolutely correct. The only way a landfill can operate in any community is to be a good neighbour, a good environmental neighbour. One of the key aspects of that is to have community acceptance and have a community team that works on that landfill on a monthly basis. That's evident at the energy-for-waste facility up in Brampton. They now have a community team that oversees and is involved in a lot of the operation of that. It's key that the community be involved and be accepted as part of that team. It's their environment.
Mr Taylor: Mr Wiseman, let me share with you some of impressions I had, just this last Tuesday having toured the new waste management site in Halton. It was a landfill that came on stream about a year ago. I think a lot of people, when they think about the term "landfill" or "garbage dump," think about a rather uncontrolled, unsightly, smelly mess. I must say that was my impression of what a landfill was.
But I took a tour of the Halton landfill site on Tuesday, and I have to tell you, if anybody expresses concern about the state of the art of the technology of modern landfilling, they should go take a tour of that Halton site. They'd be incredibly amazed. I won't say it was a walk in the park or that it was a farm, but it certainly wasn't a landfill. They have a very small working face, they have daily covers, they have technologies in place to control seagulls. It was something that was quite different from what you would expect when you go to see a landfill.
I'm not advocating that any landfills that might be sited in southern Ontario would be good things or bad things; I'm just saying that a lot of the public's perception about what a landfill is should be addressed again. They should go visit the Halton landfill as an example of what state-of-the-art technology can do.
Mr Wiseman: My last quick question, because we're running out of time: I hesitate to use the word "waste" because the more we find out, the more we can do with products; it's just expanding at an exponential rate. What I'm asking is, shouldn't everything go through a materials recovery facility before it's even thought to be put into a landfill?
Mr Lorusso: Provided there's a market and, most importantly, the cost constraints. Again, when you talk about who's going to pay for it, let's not create a system that would absolutely cost the moon to be able to do. If there's a material that's available for sale that's in the present waste stream, it will be sought out by the private sector and the market will be utilized.
Mrs Porteous-Koehle: That research and development is ongoing right now in communities, of taking it all into one facility and seeing what you can get out of it rather than let the home owner decide. That research and development is ongoing. But one of the things we've got to be extremely cautious about is that we don't use a lot of non-renewable resources to recycle renewable resources. A lot of our municipalities and a lot of the thought processes go into sending three trucks down the road picking up three different products with gases that can't be renewed. Common sense has to prevail.
Mr Taylor: That's why it's important that the bill be amended, so that the private sector has the assurance that it will be able to go forth and do the research and development and invest in its future.
Mr Tilson: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: Before this delegation leaves, the Conservatives refrained from asking any questions on their amendments simply because of the answer that was given by the parliamentary assistant to Mr Offer. They simply would be waiting until all the delegations made their presentations before amendments would be presented by the government. We now hear in one of the last comments Mr Hayes made --
Mr Tilson: The point of order is that we refrained from questions, and the government has now told us that it's going to be changing these sections as proposed by this delegation; I for one would like to see those amendments now as opposed to later, as would this delegation. I would like to hear comments from this delegation and other delegations on these proposed amendments.
The Chair: The next presentation will be from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Mr Terry Mundell and Mr Gary Cousins. Good morning, gentlemen. Welcome to the committee. I believe your brief has been distributed to the committee members. If you would like to introduce yourselves and your positions within the organization, for the purposes of Hansard. You have until noon to make your presentation.
Mr Terry Mundell: Good morning and thank you, Mr Chair and members of the committee. My name is Terry Mundell. I'm a reeve from the village of Erin and a councillor from the county of Wellington, and I'm also a vice-president of AMO, and chair AMO's environment committee. With me today is the co-chair of that particular committee, who is also the planning director of the county of Wellington, Mr Gary Cousins.
We'll not go through the history of the development of this particular legislation, as ministry staff have already outlined that particular history to you during their presentation on June 17, but I would like to emphasize that since 1989, the association and numerous individual municipalities have urged the province to develop legislation which would clearly establish municipal waste management powers and give municipalities the tools necessary to develop the new waste management system which we're moving towards.
It's a system which signifies a change in our practices from the simple pickup and disposal of garbage to the more complex waste diversion systems and activities. We have been arguing that the legislation and financing must come into line with the new emerging waste management system in the province.
We generally support the legislation and have no specific amendments to propose to you today. However, we would like to highlight two important issues which are related to the legislation: the issue of public/private waste management responsibilities and the fundamental issue of financing.
First, I would like to respond to the question of what this legislation means with respect to municipal powers for flow control or, as proposed by the OWMA, the implications of the definition of "waste management system" included in Bill 7.
In the minister's statement on June 17, he indicated that as a result of discussions with the Ontario Waste Management Association and our association, he is prepared to introduce an amendment during clause-by-clause debate that would further clarify that municipalities shall not have flow control powers. We wish today to be very clear that when AMO's environmental policy committee discussed this issue with ministry staff, we did not support any amendments to Bill 7.
On the issue of flow control, AMO has supported municipal permissive authority to control the flow of waste generated within their boundaries. However, AMO, in response to the consultation paper which preceded this legislation, did not support any of the three options proposed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and recommended that other options need to be examined and that this should occur within the context of the municipal planning process recommendations made in AMO's response to Initiatives Paper No 2, Waste Management Planning in Ontario.
To understand our support for some form of flow control, we need to first look at the current system. Counties which have waste disposal powers, as well as the regional municipality of Waterloo, can direct residential waste to designated waste disposal facilities. But other regional municipalities and lower-tier municipalities presently do not have this authority.
The ICI sector includes factories, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, private offices, schools, hospitals and accounts for about 60% of all municipal solid waste in Ontario. Although it is generally collected and disposed of by private firms, municipalities in some areas of the province collect and operate programs to collect and process recyclables from the ICI sector.
In some areas, waste which the private sector collects from the ICI sector is disposed of in their own landfill sites. In other areas, the private firms dispose of this waste in municipally owned and operated sites. This is becoming the norm in some parts of the province as there is a shortage of private waste disposal facilities. That problem is being compounded by the fact that in recent years, very few new private waste disposal sites have been approved in the province.
An additional factor is that the provincial government is initiating plans, through the Ministry of the Environment's Initiatives Paper No 2, Waste Management Planning in Ontario, to make municipalities responsible for planning to reduce the waste in their areas by 25% by the end of the year 1992, and 50% by the end of the year 2000. While that will not be mandated, it will be expected by the province and municipalities will have to plan for both the residential and ICI sector, even if they do not have control over the waste flow in the ICI sector.
We would also argue that there is so much discussion of a waste management system, and little focus on how the two sectors, municipal and private, are supposed to come together and rationalize their respective involvements in waste management. There is not a clear line between our respective activities, and there are a lot of complementary and overlapping areas of activity. We cannot draw an artificial line between the two sectors.
I would like to emphasize to you today that the private sector is a very important part of the waste management system. We acknowledge their expertise and contribution to creating one of North America's best systems for managing waste. In most cases, municipalities have good working relationships with the private sector companies operating within their jurisdiction. As an association, we began discussions with the OWMA towards developing a better working relationship between our association and to work out solutions in specific areas of disagreement.
However, at the end of the day, I think you will agree that it is the government's responsibility, and under the Municipal Act the municipalities' responsibility to ensure that waste is collected and diverted or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner, and at the end of the day it is the public that demands that its elected representatives ensure that waste is managed in an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.
We therefore do not support an amendment to the definition of "waste management system." The OWMA's proposed change to the definition would limit options for the development of a waste management system which includes the public and private sector and ensures that government, in this case municipal government, can plan for all of the waste generated and managed in its jurisdiction.
In addition, we do not support the proposal that the OWMA had made for a new section which would remove municipalities' consent authority for private recycling facilities. Municipalities must have some authority to ensure that 3Rs infrastructure development proceeds in accordance with overall plans. Therefore, there must be at least a facility approvals responsibility on the part of the municipalities in order to fulfil the obligations described previously.
This includes permit-by-rule facilities under the regulations. While the permit-by-rule system is designed to make it easier to get technical approval for these facilities, there are still solid waste planning issues which must be considered. Furthermore, in most cases the delays in the approvals process have typically occurred as a result of slowdowns in the Ministry of Environment and Energy and not at the stage when municipalities get involved.
The second main issue I would like to discuss is the fundamental issue of waste management financing. The minister, in his presentation, commented on concerns regarding the financing of waste management. The minister also cited many reasons why he believes the financial implications will not be onerous for municipalities, and we would like to respond to his statements with the following points:
First, the current funding system is not sustainable in the long term. The municipal recycling support program only offers funding for the first five years of the program, and private sector support is also not secure.
Second, it focuses on recycling instead of the first two Rs of the hierarchy, reduce and reuse. Too much of our resources is being directed to fund the version at the third level of the hierarchy and not at the first.
Third, paying for waste management from the property tax base does not promote consumer awareness of the costs of purchasing and disposal choices, and does not encourage product stewardship, nor does it support any key component of the waste management that is a resource -- conservation.
We are pleased that the minister did acknowledge the financial concerns and stated that he is committed to work together to ensure that municipalities do not shoulder an unfair share of the costs of waste reduction and are not excluded from the financial rewards. He indicated that his ministry is looking at polluter-pay-type concepts to ensure product producers pay their share of the costs of managing the packaging they create. The product stewardship approach to financing is one we support.
The association has argued that the financing of the waste management system must be addressed prior to the implementation of new mandatory regulations. Also, while we have been calling for clear statutory authority for municipalities in waste management, we have also said that the existing financing of the system is still based on the old system, which was not concerned with reducing waste and therefore did not penalize or charge individuals or producers for the cost to society of the waste they produce.
The one aspect related to financing included in the legislation is the introduction of authority for charging user fees. We support this, but must emphasize that this is just one small component of a new waste management financing system. Alone, user fees are not the answer. We will be working with the ministry over the next few months to ensure that the financing issue is resolved, an issue very important to municipalities.
As a final issue, I want to point out that the legislation, when addressing the distribution of powers between regions, counties and local municipalities, does not deal with the circumstances of separated municipalities. The status quo will prevail, and while we understand the necessity of addressing this question in the broader context of county restructuring, we wish to state that solutions for the near term are required. We would offer our assistance to work with the government to identify solutions.
The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. You will entertain some questions from the members, I take it. That will be the Conservative caucus first, followed by the government and the Liberals.
Mr Tilson: You were present for the last delegation. I'd like you to comment on some of the things they said, because obviously you don't agree with some of the things they said. Specifically, looking at their presentation, one paragraph jumps out which appears to contradict what you're saying:
"In our opinion, market forces are sufficiently dynamic to eliminate the need for artificially regulated disposal fees or designated disposal sites. These constraints would eliminate the competition and dramatically increase the cost of waste management programs for thousands of Ontario businesses."
Then they go on to say, "Because these options were even contained in the discussion paper was the cause of a great deal of anxiety among our members. Many companies put their business expansion plans on hold."
I get the impression, listening to what you're saying, that you're almost discouraging private enterprise to get involved in this business. I was asking specific questions on the operation of certain programs, for example, the blue box program. It's being suggested that the municipalities may not be as efficient as some of the private enterprise companies. I gather from your comments that you do not necessarily agree with that. I'd like you to explore or comment on those and other comments that were made by the previous delegation.
Mr Mundell: I think, first of all, it's very important that we as municipalities understand that the private sector has a large role to play in the waste management systems across the province, and we are working together with OWMA to try and explore a better partnership and arrangement between the two groups. They have a large role to play. They have in the past and they will in the future. That's reality. We are not by any means anti-business or anti-private sector. Again, there's a strong role for them to play in the province.
Mr Mundell: I would like to clarify that indeed we are not anti-business. In fact, we strongly believe we can work together with the private industry. One of the issues, I guess the main issue between the two groups, seems to be the issue of flow control. What we have asked for in flow control is permissive authority. Again, if we are going to be responsible to meet the diversion targets, under the province's waste management master plan process today, municipalities must include in that process how they're going to meet the diversion targets. If we're going to be responsible for those particular targets, we need some sort of permissive authority over flow control.
I guess the big situation right now is that we have met with OWMA and we've discussed it, and we've discussed with some ministry officials as well. We don't have the easy answer on how that permissive authority would work yet, obviously because of the diverse sections of the province.
To give you a specific example, in my area of Wellington-Guelph, the city of Guelph is proposing to build a $36-million recycling plant out of taxpayers' money, funded by provincial and municipal funds, and it's our intention to compost and recycle as much as we can to meet those targets. At the same time, outside of our region there are two proposals for private landfill sites, one the Steetly quarry proposal and the other the RSI proposal in Halton.
Our understanding is that it's still, and I think the OWMA said it as well, a lot cheaper to landfill, on a dollar basis, than it is to divert. If there is no ability to control the flow of that waste, this facility in Guelph that is being sized to handle the ICI sector today may well lose that waste to cheaper solutions, and we won't be encouraging waste diversion.
Mr Mundell: One of the comments as well was that the private sector can be more efficient than the public sector in terms of picking up and disposing of waste -- management. In our particular county of Wellington, we assumed the recycling facilities from private and in fact found savings ourselves in that particular area. I think it works both ways, depending on the individual setup of those particular municipalities and the private corporations around it. I think that's why it needs to be permissive, to allow those types of two-way communication. There are different areas it just works in, and there are others it doesn't.
Mr Tilson: I'm sure the debate will continue. I represent the county directly to the east of you, the county of Dufferin, and some of the problems that have been raised by municipalities in that specific county probably exist with respect to Wellington county.
As to the operation of this bill with respect to waste management, in other words, the collection of waste in a municipality, if you have the system being operated by a county, for example, the county of Wellington, as to garbage pickup, some municipalities have garbage pickup door to door, particularly the larger municipalities, and others in the county do not. Some don't have anything. You make your own arrangements, private or otherwise, and take it to the landfill site yourself. Some have blue box programs; some don't.
The whole issue of cost: There is the fear of some municipalities being obliged, because of the percentage of their financial contribution in the county system -- fearful that it may be unfair, particularly to the larger ones, and that they will end up compensating the smaller groups for programs that are being mandated by the province and that they would not normally get into.
Can you comment on some of those problems, from your personal perspective, which I am sure apply to other areas such as my own riding; I'm sure other members of the committee have, particularly the rural members.
Mr Mundell: I think we have the same sort of similar situations in Wellington county, and that's where public and private can work well together. In fact in our particular county, it looks as though once we get a site approved, which may be a day or two as of yet -- we've been at it for seven or eight years now so we're going to keep treading along. But once we get a system approved, yes, it looks as though the county will own the site, but I don't envision the county actually being the operator and picking up all the individual waste across our county.
Mr Tilson: But the smaller municipalities, because it's being operated by the county system, could insist on saying: "Listen, such-and-such municipality" -- a larger urban municipality -- "is getting it. Why can't we?" This bill is going to put the counties in a very difficult position, will it not? I don't know. I'm not an authority on this; I'm simply asking the question. It may well be that that presumption is incorrect, but that's a fear that has been expressed to me by some, particularly the larger, councillors. It's not the larger councillors -- maybe that too -- the councillors from the larger municipalities.
Mr Cousins: Yes, we've had that experience and those conversations around our county council table. They really started with the recycling program, because we run a county-wide recycling program with county staff and we provide different levels of service of collection of recyclable materials across the county. So far, our municipalities have been satisfied that we do it in a cost-effective manner, which means that we have full collection in the urban areas and in rural areas we tend to put collection where there are concentrations of people and individual home owners have to bring their recyclable goods to centralized facilities where the population is quite dispersed. That's a choice that we made based on what we think are our community's needs, and I think county governments are capable of making those choices.
Mr David Johnson: In Metropolitan Toronto, this bill permits the Metro council by a simple vote to take over waste collection, curbside collection. I don't know how many discussions you've had with the local municipalities here in Metro, but my guess is that what we may hear over the next couple of deputations is that there should be some mechanism for the local municipalities to also have a say in this matter, as they do in some of the other regions.
Suppose there was a system such that in addition to the Metropolitan approval, let's say a simple majority of the local municipalities needed to approve that as well, and I'm really talking about curbside collection. Do you have any problem with that?
Mr Mundell: I think it's the situation in Metro -- I guess it's more the direct election issue -- where Metro, obviously being directly elected, the municipalities, the lower tier there I guess, do not have in particular 100% say in what happens.
Mr Mundell: That's an issue which under our county legislation or even the majority of the regional legislation is dealt with and is dealt with in terms that you have to have the majority of the municipalities, and we've supported that..
Mr Mundell: I guess AMO's president being from Kirkland Lake, our position on Kirkland Lake is that we feel it should at least be moved into the environmental assessment. We believe that it should be looked at in those terms and have the studies done and decide whether or not that site is particularly viable, whether it's economically sound, whether it's environmentally sound and whether or not it will do the job.
As far as incineration goes, I think we've said all along that we should look at all options. Incineration happens to be one of those options that we believe should be looked at in terms of your master plan process.
Mr David Johnson: Right on. Now, in flow control, isn't one of the concerns of the private sector that if municipalities have the right to designate where the garbage has to go and they also have the right to designate how much they're going to have to pay for it, they're in a difficult spot? How do you get around that issue? My colleague across the way says Metro's been gouging at $152 a tonne --
Mr David Johnson: At any rate, now the price is back, but the private sector will say, "Look, you're going to tell us we have to dump in Brock or in Vaughan and you're going to tell us we have to pay $152 a tonne, and when we can find other sites that are a fraction of the cost, how is that fair?" How do you deal with that issue?
Mr Mundell: It's obviously a major concern for the private sector, and we understand those concerns. I think that's why we've said today that we don't have an easy answer for the flow control issue. We believe it needs more study and we believe we should look at it with our private sector counterparts and the government and try to work towards some sort of system which would be fair and equitable to everybody.
One of the things that's been batted around from time to time is that maybe the tipping fee should be based strictly on the cost of waste management only. Now again, what's the definition of waste management and how do you clearly determine what the costs are? Do they include the costs of your recycling or not? There are a lot of issues there that we still need to openly discuss with our partners and try to come to some sort of decision with them.
Mr Mundell: We're very concerned that if the legislation, and the amendments in particular, goes through, we will then have no flow control whatsoever and are very concerned that that may preclude the discussions which we have. We would prefer to work with our partners, have the discussions on the issue of flow control and try to come out with some sort of mutual position on it, if at all possible.
Mr David Johnson: The amendments that have been proposed are basically status quo, though, aren't they? I mean, you don't have flow control at the present time, so it doesn't really change the situation as it is today.
In terms of financing, and this is probably the major issue, where do you see -- and you've rightfully, I think, raised this issue and raised the red flag that there are going to be problems in the future, and I've been saying this, until the government comes down and decides where the funding is headed. Do I take it from your comments that you see the user fee then as being a significant portion of funding in the future? How do you see that, as a minor component or a major component?
Mr Mundell: We see the user fee as a component, but a small component, of the system in the future. We see the product stewardship model as being the one which we would like to see moved on by the province. It seems to help the polluter-pay principle, which the province has talked about, and that's what we really supported. We are very interested in working with the different groups to try to be proactive and move some of these things forward.
Mr David Johnson: If I can just finish that one last bit, I just wanted to follow up on that in terms of provincial and municipal funding. Do you see their components going up, down or being basically level?
Mr Mundell: That's a difficult question to answer. I think the system will vary in each part of the province, but the funding issue is one which -- everybody knows there's not a lot of money around for anybody right now, and I think if we move more into a product stewardship model that they may definitely help limit the amount of funding which we would have to put in.
Mr Fletcher: One of the reasons that I agree with OWMA and one of the things that has really driven me away from municipalities has been N-4. You know exactly what I'm talking about. I mean, the fiasco that's been going on in the county and the city of Guelph is ridiculous: Millions of dollars spent on consultant fees, politics being played at every turn. The people say, "Yes, we agree. No, we don't agree," and look where we are today in the county. Then for the city to come to the ministry with its hat in its hand, "Can you fix our problem for us after we've spent all this money?" is ridiculous.
I think, had we had the regulations in place with private enterprise, we could have said to them, "How would you like to take care of this problem?" and they would have done it. They would have gone out and done the job, because that's what they'd be there for, without the politics involved and everything else. That's one thing that really has thrown me aside as far as municipalities being given the power for what they're doing.
Mr Mundell: On the Kirkland Lake issue, what we're saying is that we believe at least it should be moved into the environmental assessment process and reviewed with the rest of the sites. If it turns out that it is the site that is preferred, then move. If it turns out that there is a site which is better than that, then go in that direction as well.
Mr Fletcher: As far as incineration, there are a couple of things I don't like about it: One is incineration in general. But in order for incineration to work, you have to produce waste, and that takes away from what we're trying to do, limit the amount of waste that's being produced. Incineration will only work on waste products being produced to dump into the incinerator, and that's one of the concerns I have. So we do take away from what has been happening as far as reducing, reusing and the 3Rs.
Mr Mundell: Our particular waste management master plan does discuss incineration, but it's the last phase. We go through the other hierarchy first, the wet-dry facility being part of that as well, and the very last, the end, the final product which is left, that's when the incineration would come into play, when there is nothing else we can do with it.
Mr Mundell: I'm not so sure that the packaging issue should be dealt with at the local level. I think it should be dealt with in broader terms, because there are all the imports which are coming in and municipalities just aren't equipped to deal with packaging at a local level. I think it's a provincial and even a federal issue which should be taken on so that we are consistent as well for the private sector, so that you don't get 900 different positions on packaging, you get one which is consistent. It's better for business as well.
Mr Wiseman: I'd like to start by saying that one of the areas I'm concerned about with this bill is the fact that upper-tier municipalities will be able to locate a dump in lower-tier municipalities, and that lower-tier municipalities' only venue for opposing this will be the Ontario Municipal Board.
Mr Wiseman: On more than one occasion, there were attempts to try to lay charges against the works department at Metropolitan Toronto for this mismanagement of the Brock West landfill site. One of the reasons it's there is because the rest of the municipality decided that would be a good place to go and make a lot of money while making Metro rich in the short run and in the long run.
So my question very clearly is that given the hostility of communities -- fostered, no doubt, by the incompetence of the running of some of these landfill sites, such as Metro's, which is notorious -- would AMO support in this legislation an amendment which would require that whoever sites the landfills would be required to create a community liaison committee to monitor the operation of the site, of any site that's located either in an unorganized township or in some lower-tier municipality?
Mr Mundell: I think one of the issues with any particular landfill site and any particular operation is trying to get along with your neighbours. I think that's very important, and the landfill site is no different. I think it would be better to be proactive and have some sort of operational committee that can be involved in meetings to help look after neighbourhood concerns than it would be to be reactive and, every time there's a concern, get on the phone. Look at the issues first, be a good neighbour and deal with them as up front as you possibly can. I would think that in general terms the feeling would be that we would support that type of legislation or amendment.
Mr Wiseman: I have one last comment. One of the problems with the flow control issue, as I see it, and I'm still open for influence on this, is that we are making a fundamental error in the way we look at the waste stream. We look at the waste stream as waste. We don't look at it as a natural resource or a resource that could promote development. My major concern is that if we wait until we develop a market to buy the waste or the resource, then that sometimes is going to be a long time coming.
One of the concepts that has been suggested is that where you can sell the product in the market -- for example, clear plastics and aluminum and others -- then you do that -- paper, bottles and all that -- but where you cannot, where the market value of the product is such that it's cheaper to use a natural resource than it is to use a waste resource, you give the waste resource away, so that it always has a value lower than the market value for using a raw material.
For municipalities, this could be a very attractive thing in that it could also attract industries to use those products in the communities and could be an economic development tool, if you were to give the waste away where it cannot garner a market value rate. That's part of the product stewardship model, I think. Have you given that any thought?
Mr Mundell: In part of the discussions that we had on product stewardship -- and I happen to be in private business; in my own municipality I have a family business, a Home Hardware store -- one of the things that I've spoken of often in our committee sessions is that we should have more incentives for people to use these types of recyclable products, try to make the recyclable products more competitive and give people more reasons to use them. Yes, we would support that type of a situation. Somehow, we have to put incentives forward. We can't always be working at the back door. Sometimes we have to come at it in the front door. I think it's important that incentives are made for people to use these types of products.
Mr Wayne Lessard (Windsor-Walkerville): Thank you, gentlemen, for your presentation and taking the time to appear here today. Although you haven't made any suggestions for amendments today, I hope you feel free to offer those suggestions up until the time the committee considers this bill in clause-by-clause.
You were here when you heard the OWMA make its presentation earlier. They talked about flow control as well. The thrust that we got from their suggestions, and I can quote right from the brief, is that they're talking about amendment of the definition of a waste management system, which I think would address their concern. They said, "This would send a message to the private sector that you believe that there's a future for them in the waste management business." You've indicated yourself that you feel that the private sector has a role to play. But they wanted the assurance that flow control not be referred to in the bill, in order for them to feel encouraged to invest in waste management infrastructure here in the province. I wonder what your opinions are on that. How do we encourage them to invest if we don't also give them that comfort level?
Mr Mundell: I think that's a very important issue. As I said earlier, I think we as an association that represents our municipalities really need to sit down and discuss with OWMA and the province flow control. It's a very serious issue. It's the crux of the waste management system in the province.
If you look at what the province is doing today, the Minister of Environment and Energy recently sent a letter to the Honourable Mr Charest to ask him about the consideration of garbage which was being sent across the border, and the province, in its own way, was looking for some sort of flow control there for the provincial garbage which is flowing across the border.
Mr Cousins: We think we need some forms of flow control. One of the reasons is, it gets right to the point of what the role is of municipal government in the waste management system, and I think that's what you're dealing with. If you look at waste across this province now, 60% of the waste in this province is ICI, 40% is municipal. Municipalities are being asked to divert 50% of the waste stream from landfill. If we made our 40% disappear into thin air tomorrow, we'd still be 10% short of your target.
What the amendment is really doing is saying that we'll give municipalities control over 40% of the waste stream and expect them to divert 50% of the waste stream from landfills. That's a difficult concept for us to manage.
Mr Lessard: I guess part of the reason that I'm focusing on flow control is because in our package of materials, we've been provided with a copy of the news release from AMO from April 21 of this year indicating AMO's support for the bill and the waste management powers to municipalities. But in that, it indicated there was some concern about the financial implications of the changes, which you've addressed, but it didn't say anything about flow control.
I just wondered whether there had been some change of position, or some reason it wasn't addressed in the news release at that time, because the minister did make some comments about flow control afterwards, and he may have been influenced by AMO's position at that time.
"We therefore do not support an amendment to the definition of `waste management system.' The OWMA's proposed change to the definition would limit options for the development of a waste management system which includes the public and private sector and ensures that government, in this case municipal government, can plan for all of the waste generated and managed in its jurisdiction."
Mr Mundell: I think the comment goes back to what Mr Cousins said earlier, that what we really end up doing is having control over only 40% of the waste stream and yet still responsible for the diversion targets of the 25% and 50%.
Let me ask, first of all, on that most important question of flow control, you keep saying there should be some discussions with the private sector, and frankly this makes me a little bit nervous. If it is so important, why are there not discussions under way right now? Why are there not extensive negotiations? Are you not currently sitting at the table with the private sector to come to some agreement? Perhaps you could describe a little bit as to what is happening and what you're planning specifically on that issue to facilitate some sort of a common approach.
Mr Mundell: I would say to you that we have met with OWMA on, I believe, three occasions. We met last week with them at a breakfast meeting, and we discussed their presentation and our presentation, and we discussed their amendments. Our next course of action, as a committee of AMO, is to get a hold of OWMA once again, and we would like to sit down and try to go through the flow control issue once more, harder, faster.
So we have had discussions on flow control. We have had discussions on overall waste management systems. We had a one-day symposium with them to try and get the partners to the table and try and create some dialogue, and now we need to move further on that.
Mr Mundell: The ministry hasn't been involved, but they've been involved in separate meetings. They've met with the OWMA separately and our committee separately. What we'd like to do is put all parties in the room together and try and work through. One of the other major issues which is involved is financing. It's our understanding that we would see a paper on the financing issues very shortly, because they all tie together; flow control and financing seem to tie in with the waste management system. So we'd really like to see the ministry's position on the financing as well so we can look at the whole picture together.
Mr Daigeler: Obviously, that would seem to me a most reasonable approach and very logical. Who do you think ought to take the leadership on this? I mean, obviously somebody has to push it. In my experience, both in the public and private sectors, if you don't have any one or any particular group that assumes responsibility for making it happen, it's very difficult that it actually will happen. So is AMO the lead group on this? Who would you say should push this agenda?
Mr Mundell: I would say to you right now that the private sector and OWMA have been very receptive to meeting with us, and I don't think there are any concerns with setting up meetings. If AMO needs to take the lead, we will. We've said recently that we want to be proactive, not reactive. This is part of our overall strategy to be proactive, and we would try and set up such meetings.
Mr Daigeler: Okay, thank you very much then. You indicated that there were these two main concerns you had with the legislation, but other than that you seem to be quite satisfied with the legislation. Is that in fact so; other than these two main points, you're satisfied with the bill?
Mr Daigeler: You mentioned in your brief that you supported the idea of user fees, although you say very clearly, and I think you're right, that's obviously only a small step in the direction of waste management. On the issue of user fees, however, have you had any kind of discussion with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on how this would work with the municipal sector? Have there been consultations and where are they at if there have been any?
Mr Cousins: It's been discussed on and off, perhaps not as seriously as it should be. There seem to be a number of different alternatives being put forward, like paying on a per-bag basis, which is a project that's being done within our county right now. I guess our position is: Give us as many tools as you can to implement user-pay systems where they're needed.
Mr Cousins: We have a small project going with the user-pay system in one of our small hamlets. It's a pilot project that the Ministry of Environment is involved with in one of our communities to see how a user-pay bag system and a blue box system will work together.
Mr Daigeler: Can you describe a little bit how successful that has been at this point or what the reaction has been and how long it has been in existence? Is it something that seems to be working or is the experience not working?
Mr Cousins: It's being done on a very small basis. It's actually being done in the municipality of the warden of our county, and he tells me it has been received extremely well by the residents and that it in fact has encouraged more use of the blue box program within that small area that it's being done in. So it is working.
Mr Daigeler: Talking about composting, in terms of the organic waste, I understand there's only one facility that takes that organic waste. What would be the impact, especially on restaurants, if the municipalities would take this over? How do you see that happening, the organic waste from restaurants and what additional costs might be in particular for restaurants for handling the organic waste?
Mr Mundell: Source separation is an issue that indeed will cause private industry difficulties to get involved in. It will cause them space limitations and cause them to have their employees far more knowledgeable on what's allowed to be separated and what's not. So, no, it won't be an easy system by any means, but for us to get into the diversion programs and meet the 25% and 50%, I think the people of this province will, or are going to have to, deal with some issues which are away from what they have normally been doing. We have to change the way we're doing business. That's going to be a reality of the situation.
Mr Daigeler: Perhaps one final question. To come back to the very first point, how strongly do you feel about the proposed amendment that the minister apparently is willing to put forward that will restrict the control by municipalities? Do you feel one ought to make an effort to hold up this legislation until you have arrived at some agreement with the private sector surrounding this issue, or do you feel this bill as it is and with the possible amendment is important enough that it be passed and we'll see what happens afterwards?
Mr Mundell: I think we'd rather see the amendment being held up versus the bill. It's the amendment that we don't support. We support the legislation as it's presented now. I think the issue is that we do not want to prejudge any discussions which we would have with the private sector. If you put these issues into legislation, it's far harder to change the legislation to allow some different types of permissive flow control.
The committee would note that we have a list of presenters for this afternoon, starting at 4 o'clock. I would urge the committee to be here at 4 o'clock. We have a very tight schedule. The time lines are not as generous as the ones this morning were. Therefore, staying to our schedule will be very, very important. I have some concerns about this afternoon. I think the Chair at subcommittee indicated those concerns about holding committee hearings during the last technical afternoon of the House. Therefore, it will be helpful to the committee if all members present themselves at 4 o'clock and we move expeditiously through the work we have in front of us.
I would also like to indicate to the committee that we have had a reply, addressed to Mr Daigeler, the Vice-Chair of this committee, regarding comments that were made in Hansard regarding the Ministry of Environment and Energy. We have the minister's reply, and I think members should consider this to be an exhibit.
The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, I think that's a concern certainly felt by the Chair. The clerk is trying to make arrangements for the additional days we will be having in committee in a committee room where we can operate the air-conditioner during committee hearings, which would be most helpful to the committee. Certainly, we'll see that the machine is stoked up and ready to go. As you know, because of the construction the windows are not able to be open, which does not help either. So I note your concern, Mr Mammoliti.
Mr Jerry Richmond: I want to indicate to committee members, this being the first day of deputations, we from legislative research, myself and Lorraine Luski, whom you know, will be preparing one of our standard summaries. Jim has seen the one from Bill 143. So we'll be doing one of those, and if any of you should have any other additional concerns or research questions, you can put those on the table or approach me directly, and Lorraine and I will attempt to handle them as best we can. So thank you.
The Chair: The first presentation this afternoon will be made by the city of Niagara Falls, Edward Lustig. Sir, if you would like to introduce yourself and your colleague for the purposes of Hansard. You have been allocated 20 minutes for both your presentation and any questions by the members. You may begin.
Mr Edward Lustig: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I'm with Mr Schram, who is a consultant with the firm of Proctor and Redfern, and that firm advises the city of Niagara Falls on waste management matters. I am the chief administrative officer for the city of Niagara Falls.
I take it that the brief that we've prepared has been distributed. I might point out at the outset that this brief has been distributed to the Ministry of Environment and Energy and that we've advised the regional municipality of Niagara of our intentions to appear and make submissions with respect to this bill.
At the outset, I'd like to thank the committee for taking the time to hear our submission and to note that our mayor was anxious to attend and present this brief but was called away on other business.
The purpose of our brief is to suggest an amendment to Bill 7. The reason for our suggested amendment is to assist our city and the other 11 municipalities in Niagara region in tackling the ever-growing waste management crisis.
There are many reasons why we are so interested in the manner in which Bill 7 becomes law and ultimately affects the Niagara region. By way of a brief background -- and I'll return to this -- the city of Niagara Falls has worked alone for the past 15 years to expand its own existing landfill site. We know the cost, we know the lost opportunities, and we know more than ever the effect on our citizens and businesses, as we are currently involved in an Environmental Assessment Board hearing to consider an application for a nine-year extension to our landfill. We are therefore interested in ensuring that the necessary jurisdictional situation in Niagara region exists so that a cost-effective environmentally suitable and stable long-term waste management system is available to Niagara Falls and its neighbours within the region.
The region of Niagara was formed in 1970 through the Regional Municipality of Niagara Act. For some reason, that act did not assign responsibility for waste management to the region but it remained a municipal responsibility, although all other regions within the province created before and after were given that power. The regional Niagara act provides a type of permissive ability for municipalities to request the region to assume the responsibility for waste management, if so asked. To this point, the municipalities have not initiated such a request.
My council has established a position on the matter of jurisdiction for waste management which was to be used as a focus for gaining support from other municipalities for a request to the region. This was done by way of a council resolution in January of this year. The basis for the Niagara Falls position is that it is the view of the city staff and council that the preferred approach with respect to solving our waste management problem is to transfer waste management jurisdiction to regional Niagara and provide the necessary support to solving the regional waste dilemma.
Leading to the decision of our council to request this change in jurisdiction was the Niagara Region Review Commission report which was completed in 1990. This report, often referred to as the Kitchen report, examined the region in its entirety as part of the regional review process that was undertaken in several Ontario jurisdictions at the request of the province. The Kitchen report examined the jurisdiction for solid waste and other public works and utility functions in Niagara region, and recommendation 10.4 is relevant.
That recommendation said that the region should assume responsibility for solid waste disposal across the entire region of Niagara. So as recently as 1990, you have a study that was commissioned by the province recommending to you that you transfer responsibility for this to the region, as in all other regions within the province.
The reason given by Mr Kitchen for this recommendation is that all other regional governments in Ontario are responsible for waste management. More importantly, it was concluded that waste management was seen as a service that can be undertaken in a more cost-effective and efficient manner by the government, ie, the region encompassing the larger geographical area. The Kitchen report was a comprehensive effort that examined all aspects of the regional and municipal relationship and, as such, its conclusions should be taken seriously, seeing as they represent an independent and learned view of the municipal government in Ontario.
The region, in response to the recommendation, established what is known as the Kitchen 10.4 task force. The task force, which included representatives from regional council and staff from the area municipalities, was formed to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the recommendation. The task force concluded in March 1990:
"The regional waste management master plan should be the guiding document. In the short term, the clubs are moving to resolve immediate needs. The region should continue to review the status from time to time as recommended in the waste management master plan and take steps as appropriate to avoid the crisis situations that have developed in other jurisdictions. A 10-year lead time is suggested."
In considering that recommendation, I would like to make two observations. The first is that since that conclusion was reached in March 1990, very little progress has been made by the area municipalities in the Niagara region to address the waste management problem. In addition, we are not aware of the region undertaking a review of the status of our planning efforts. My second observation relates to the parochialism that pervades these kinds of activities in the Niagara region. Indeed, it is this municipal self-interest that has established the obstacles preventing an objective and comprehensive assessment of the waste management problem in Niagara.
We can advise the committee that the Niagara region has been extremely cautious in its examination of jurisdictional matters since the report of the 10.4 task force. In April of this year, the regional public works department provided a comprehensive review of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs discussion paper entitled Municipal Waste Management Powers in Ontario. In that review, regional public works identified many of the waste management problems in the Niagara region, which we have also noted as part of this brief. However, without the support of its area municipalities, the region would be hard pressed to make any advances to assuming the responsibility for waste management.
Notwithstanding some very compelling reasons why the region of Niagara should assume responsibility for waste management, the review was noncommittal in its conclusions. In its review, regional council decided to maintain its previous position of December 1990, which stated that:
"If the region were requested to assume additional responsibility for solid waste activities, it would endeavour to work within the existing `club' framework until such time as the situation warranted review and consideration of alternative arrangements."
Copies of the regional review were provided to the Minister of Environment and Energy, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and area municipalities in Niagara region. With the exception of Niagara Falls, no other area municipality initiated the necessary steps to request the region to consider assuming the responsibility for waste management.
Finally, with respect to the matter of jurisdiction, a report on development charges in the Niagara region by a public advisory committee made up of volunteers from business and citizens considered the implication of the Development Charges Act. Although that act does not directly affect jurisdiction for waste management, the committee did recognize the economies of scale for providing certain system services at a regional level. The public advisory committee recommended that water, sewer and garbage should be regional matters.
In summary, the issue of waste management has been around since the formation of the region. It has been dealt with several times in the last two or three years, and in all cases independent reviewers concluded that waste management responsibility should be regional. This is an issue that will not go away until the matter is finally resolved, and we feel that Bill 7 can provide that opportunity.
Before I provide our suggestions for the amendment of Bill 7, I think it is important that the committee understands the extent of the problems in the Niagara region and that the inability to solve these problems in a timely and cost-effective manner is to a large extent the result of this jurisdictional situation that currently exists in the Niagara region, in other words, that the area municipalities have that function.
The waste management crisis in Niagara Falls is real. Our landfill is currently operating on its third emergency certificate of approval, and that will expire this October if approval is not received on an interim application. An interim expansion of our landfill is required until a longer-term disposal facility becomes available through our master plan studies.
We have spent considerable funds on a team of consultants and legal experts and in assisting intervenors, at our expense, in reviewing our application. The result is almost 15 years of study, unyielding criticism of our application, the terrible uncertainty about our short- and long-term future and, unfortunately, a growing contingent of elected representatives, business people and taxpayers who are questioning our continued participation in the waste management business and our financial ability to continue to maintain and expand our waste diversion 3Rs programs.
As I noted, we are not alone in the Niagara region. There are several other serious problems that in our view are symptomatic of the problems across Ontario with respect to waste management that are severely compounded by the fact that each of the 12 municipalities have separate jurisdiction for waste management. The difficulty with this shared responsibility has been recognized for many years and at least since 1975 when regional Niagara completed its first of several waste management master studies. That study and the most recently completed regional waste management master plan in 1989 acknowledged the differences between Niagara region and other regional jurisdictions in Ontario with respect to this jurisdiction.
However, the conclusions of these studies were seriously affected by municipal interests in that the matter of jurisdictional change was not seriously considered. Indeed, the regional study involved the full participation of the municipalities and continued to recommend the status quo, that is, continuing to permit municipalities to solve problems and suggesting what is known as the "club approach."
The club approach, as described in the regional master plan, involves a participation by two or more municipalities by agreement, not mandatory. Experience has clearly shown that the success of the club study is a function of the willingness of municipalities to continue to participate and how the results of the study may or may not affect the individual participants.
In Niagara, we have found serious problems with the club approach, and some of these are detailed in the paragraphs following on page 5 and the top of page 6. If I can skip ahead to the last paragraph of that part at the top of page 6, in examining the progress of the other studies, the collective progress is indeed disappointing. Several million dollars have been spent, many studies have been produced and we have difficulty identifying any real progress in solving the waste management problem in Niagara. There is an urgency in dealing with the issue of jurisdiction as soon as possible and before any more substantial costs are incurred to develop separate master plans at the municipal level.
Our proposed amendment: The committee may well understand now why the city was enthusiastic about Bill 7. We think it's a good bill. In our view, it is a progressive and long-awaited act, not only with respect to Niagara region but to other municipalities trying to solve waste management problems in Ontario.
We agree that subsections 33(1) and (2) of the Regional Municipality of Niagara Act should be repealed. However, our primary concern is that the permissive approach proposed in section 150, section 5 of Bill 7, should be mandatory. It shouldn't be left to the regional council. There should be leadership shown by the province. It should be mandated, just as with the other regional municipalities in the province. As it now stands, regional Niagara will have the ability to assume waste management powers but not the obligation. Recognizing the history in Niagara and the parochial interests of the participants, the need for mandatory legislation is clear.
We recommend that the date of September 1, 1994, be established as the date when the region of Niagara would assume waste management responsibilities from its area municipalities. The earliest possible date is necessary between the approval of Bill 7 and the transfer of jurisdiction to avoid any delays or the stopping of master plan studies until the region takes over. Some lead time is required to properly plan for the transfer. We recommend that the legislation require the preparation of a transition plan by the region to be finalized and approved by the regional council at least six months before the region assumes power.
The preparation of the transition plan would be an essential element in the transfer of waste management power. The plan would be the responsibility of the region and be prepared by the region, but with the input and participation of the area municipalities. The primary objective of the plan would be to establish the implementation framework for a fair and equitable transfer of power.
There are several specific matters which the transition plan must address, and these are listed at the top of page 7. The transition plan would detail the powers and responsibilities of the region in all areas of waste management. It would also describe the role of the municipality and its responsibilities in waste management.
Our proposed amendment to Bill 7 is not without precedent, nor does it represent any dramatic shift in the regional-municipal relationship so long experienced by all other regions and more recently by several counties in Ontario. Rather, it deals with a matter that should have been addressed in 1970. The fact is that we're the exception now.
Why is the amendment needed? Perhaps we could take some time with the committee to provide the reasons we believe Bill 7 in its present form will not solve our problems and, more importantly, will put the most important matter of waste management back in the political arena.
Respectfully, the matter of waste management jurisdiction is not an issue on which 12 different municipalities can agree. As noted, the issue of regional jurisdiction, on any number of matters, is one which creates emotional discussion even 20-plus years after the region was formed. It is also a region where parochialism has an effect on major decisions made by the regional council.
I'm skipping down to the next bullet. The matter of regional jurisdiction has been supported by the public. In our own Niagara North study -- we're in a club called Niagara North -- we completed a public attitude survey, and there was clear support for the region assuming the responsibilities. These views have also been expressed at every one of the public meetings held as part of our Niagara North master plan. The region's own environmental advisory committee, which is made up of citizens and business leaders, continues to support this change.
We also note that the Commission on Planning and Development Reform in Ontario, which was established in June 1991, produced a draft report dealing with planning matters in Ontario. While we acknowledge that the report does not deal with waste management matters and it has yet to issue a final report, we must note that the commission frequently commented that the nature of a renewed planning model would be for upper-tier municipalities, such as our Niagara region, to address significant matters. Clearly, the planning for implementation and operation of waste management programs and facilities is a significant municipal and provincial matter.
In our view, the position of the Ministry of Environment and Energy is well known, if not publicly stated. They are in consultation with Municipal Affairs. They have initiated the discussions on the authority for waste management and were a contributor to the discussion paper on waste management powers that I previously referred to. The paper expressed the need for upper-tier municipalities to address jurisdiction and responsibility for waste management. I might note that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario also supports the position.
Finally, a change in jurisdiction will permit Niagara to provide a coordinated and better response to current and expected provincial regulations, in the view of our own waste management experts whom we consulted in preparing this paper. There continue to be more opportunities available, if only by virtue of more resources to establish diversion programs and facilities such as centralized composing. It also provides an enhanced ability for Niagara region to discuss waste management opportunities and solutions common to problems with other regions. I think we are all aware of the coordinated efforts being undertaken in the greater Toronto area to solve waste management problems. That model has some merit in terms of combining resources to provide a more cost-effective and indeed better overall approach to waste management planning and implementation.
As I noted earlier, we are in agreement on virtually all points of Bill 7, with the exception of the section I referred to. With respect to regional Niagara, we would recommend that section 160, which describes the assignment of waste reduction powers, should include regional Niagara. In our view, this is necessary to increase waste diversion performance in Ontario, increase the diversion opportunities available to area municipalities and, as important, it should reduce the overall costs of waste diversion.
Our motivation to see these responsibilities clarified and established with the region is based on our recent experience in trying to resolve these problems through cooperation and negotiation. Our own attempts to establish a club approach for recycling through the preparation of a cooperative agreement failed to include all area municipalities. There wasn't a consensus, or there wasn't agreement, of all area municipalities. The intent was to work together to enhance our opportunities and reduce costs.
The time and effort taken to establish the regional recycling club could have been better spent on other municipal problems had the region the responsibility in what is proposed under section 160. In our view, only with the approach outlined in section 160 can we as municipalities sustain the long-term feasibility of our recycling programs and other types of waste diversion activities, which are now under some attack because of cost.
Mr Lustig: Our conclusion, then, briefly stated, is that the authority ought to be transferred to the region as it is in all other areas of the province, and principally from a cost-efficiency point of view.
Ms Margaret H. Harrington (Niagara Falls): I would like to share my time. First of all, I recognize the history and the difficulty you've been through. I really believe it should be at the regional level as well, and I stated this when I was on city council back in 1988. I think there's a whole lot of logic to it and it makes good economic sense for the cost of recycling and diversion. I don't understand why the other municipalities don't see that logic and good economic sense, because in this bill you recognize that you have the ability to do what you want, and you have to have the agreement of the other municipalities. That's all I have to say, and I would like to hear comments from my colleagues who have been dealing with this bill.
The Chair: The next presentation is from the Ontario Restaurant Association, Paul Oliver. Good afternoon. Welcome to the committee. You've been allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. If you would like to identify yourself and your colleague for the purposes of Hansard, you may begin your presentation, hopefully leaving some time for some questions and answers with the members.
Mr Paul Oliver: On behalf of the Ontario Restaurant Association, I'd like to say that we're pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you today. I am Paul Oliver, the president of the Ontario Restaurant Association, and with me today is Constance Wrigley, our manager of municipal government affairs.
The ORA is a non-profit association which represents restaurants and foodservice establishments in Ontario. The association was founded in 1931 and currently represents approximately 8,000 individual foodservice establishments. The association represents all aspects of the foodservice industry, including licensed, non- licensed, contract caterers, accommodation establishments, quick-service restaurants and many other types of foodservice establishments.
Since 80% of the restaurant industry is comprised of small, independent operators, this creates several unique challenges for our industry in implementing programs to reach waste reduction objectives. The ORA welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you today the issues facing Ontario's restaurant and foodservices industry regarding waste management and, in particular, the impact the proposed changes contained in Bill 7 will have on our industry.
The next debate represents a major challenge for the foodservices industry. As a front-line industry that is reliant on consumer confidence and consumer trust, the foodservice industry has been a leader in waste reduction and waste management practices. Unfortunately, many of our members are finding that the existing infrastructure required to implement additional responsible waste reduction initiatives is not adequate or is simply not available.
We believe that changes to Bill 7 should be introduced to address the infrastructure void which currently exists. We're supportive of many sections of Bill 7, especially those which encourage recycling. We're also strongly supportive of initiatives which are designed to enhance the infrastructure available to accommodate recycling programs.
While being supportive of several parts of the legislation, including many of its underlying principles, the ORA is concerned with a number of components contained in the legislation which go beyond what we believe was the original intent of the legislation. The ORA believes that many of the concerns held by foodservice operators can be addressed through amendments which provide further clarification of the definitions and terminology already contained in Bill 7.
Ms Constance Wrigley: One of our major concerns surrounding Bill 7 is over the legislative impact the bill will have on private waste management companies, as well as the legislation's effect on commercial waste generators.
A great deal of confusion and concern has arisen in the foodservices industry regarding the potential consequences of Bill 7. It is our belief that it was not, and is not, the intention of the government of Ontario to use Bill 7 to encroach on the private sector. However, the current wording contained in Bill 7 is of a broad enough nature that it could be misinterpreted to include both private waste management systems and commercial waste generators.
The definition of "waste" includes "industrial solid waste" and "municipal refuse." This would suggest that Bill 7 includes all solid waste generated by the commercial or industrial sector, even that which is currently managed through privately contracted waste management systems. We believe that the term "industrial solid waste" should be deleted from the definition of "waste" contained in the definitions preamble.
We are also concerned about the current definition for "waste management system," which currently reads "facilities and services for the management of waste, including the collection, removal, transfer, processing, storage, reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal of the waste."
This definition does not suggest that the parameters of Bill 7 are confined only to systems that are and have been within municipal control. Instead, this definition, if interpreted liberally, could be construed to mean that the municipal government has been granted ultimate control over all local waste management systems, including existing private sector systems which service the commercial sector. This definition, associated with additional powers granted in Bill 7, would give a municipal government flow control over all waste, and this in turn could be used to exclude private firms from the waste management system. If this were permitted to happen, it would place a tremendous hardship on the commercial sector, in particular on small foodservices operators who rely on the customized waste management services provided by private companies.
We are seeking a clear statement and amendments from the government of Ontario which would clarify that Bill 7 will not impact private waste management contracts and arrangements with the commercial sector. We are concerned about provisions contained in section 208.5 in the bill which would enable a municipality to establish one waste management arrangement system and exclude all existing private waste management contracts.
Section 208.5 reads, "A bylaw under section 208.2 includes the power to provide waste management facilities and services to all or any defined area of the local municipality at the expense of the owners and occupants of the land in that area, and impose upon that land, according to its assessed value, a special rate to defray the expense of the waste management facilities and services."
It is important that an amendment be introduced to Bill 7 which states that the powers contained in section 208.5 pertain only to waste management services currently provided by the municipal government or only to domestic waste generated from the residential sector.
We are concerned about the cost implications of Bill 7, especially in light of other initiatives which would see the introduction of the mandatory blue box system and household composting in most communities.
There are two funding options outlined in Bill 7, that of user fees and property assessments. Considering the rapidly escalating cost of waste management for the commercial sector, the reduction of transfer payments and the enhanced waste management infrastructure required for domestic waste, we are very concerned that municipal governments might look to the commercial sector to fund a disproportionate share of the waste management system and to support new domestic waste management facilities and systems.
Section 208.5 of Bill 7 would allow a municipal government to impose a special rate or property assessment to all rateable property in order to defray the expense of providing waste management facilities and services. This is of major concern to us because it would permit municipalities to impose a waste management levy on foodservices operators who already pay for a waste management system through contracts with private waste management firms.
We do not believe it is fair that operators should be expected to pay twice for waste management services, once to a private contractor and a second time to support a public system which they may not utilize and often cannot access.
In order to avoid this double taxation, we believe that special assessments should only be permitted to be used by municipalities on a usage basis. This would ensure that foodservices operations, which are often required to utilize private sector waste management companies, are not forced to pay twice for waste management services.
We are also concerned about provisions contained in section 208.6 which would permit municipalities to impose different rules, fees and incentives for different classes of premises. This provision creates the opportunity for municipalities to impose higher waste collection fees than those imposed on home owners. We believe that all waste generators should be treated equally and all classes of waste generators treated the same, proportionate to volume. This can be ensured if Bill 7 is amended so that the municipal governments are permitted to use only usage fee levies that are uniform for all classes of waste generation.
We have a couple of concerns about the provisions contained in Bill 7 which permit municipal governments to impose source separation requirements. First of all, this broad power does not accommodate offsite or central separation facilities which in foodservices establishments will become necessary, and secondly, this provision would create a patchwork of source separation requirements which will place a tremendous burden on multiple outlet operators. Ensuring Bill 7 does not impact private waste management contracts would address this concern.
We are concerned that Bill 7 is beginning to decentralize waste management initiatives and is undermining initiatives outlined in Bill 143. Within the foodservices industry, many chain operators are represented in a large number of municipalities. Since Bill 7 moves reduction and recycling initiatives away from provincial standards and towards a municipal patchwork, the administration and compliance burden placed on multiple location operators becomes greater. This could place a substantial financial burden on multiple unit foodservices operations as well.
This variance of municipal regulations also highlights the need for private sector waste management firms which operate on a province-wide or regional basis, because these organizations can provide the customized, chain-wide waste management services required by province-wide or national foodservices operations.
We are disappointed that Bill 7 does not do more to address the lack of infrastructure, which is required to effectively implement waste recycling programs and to attain waste diversion objectives. Within the foodservices industry, the lack of adequate infrastructure is a serious problem.
In the foodservices industry, organic waste represents the greatest portion of the waste stream, well in excess of 50%. A large percentage of the organic waste stream could be diverted away from the waste disposal stream and into composting, provided adequate central composting facilities are available. Currently, there is only one facility in all of Ontario which will accept food waste, but due to geographical restrictions, the facility can only service a very small portion of the foodservices industry and its capacity can only absorb a very small percentage of the total organic waste stream from foodservices establishments.
We are concerned that if amendments are not introduced to Bill 7 which clarify that this legislation will not undermine private sector waste management organizations, it will act as an enhanced disincentive against private sector investment in waste management infrastructure.
Many members of the food services industry have concerns regarding the potential impact Bill 7 could have on the commercial sector and private waste management firms. As previously noted, the Ontario Restaurant Association does not believe it was the intention of the government of Ontario to intervene in or undermine the waste management services provided by the private sector. We believe that this confusion can be alleviated through a number of minor amendments surrounding definitions used in Bill 7. We encourage the government of Ontario to introduce these important amendments prior to third reading of Bill 7.
On behalf of the Ontario Restaurant Association, I would like to thank you for the opportunity for myself and Paul to be here today before the committee. We look forward to your comments and questions.
Mr Grandmaître: And due to its geographical restriction, it can only serve a small portion of the food services. How about the rest of them, especially fast food people? What do they do with their waste?
Mr Oliver: It currently goes to landfill sites, unfortunately. It represents in excess of 50% of the waste stream from the restaurant industry, organic food waste. Currently, there is only one facility, and it's in the Niagara Peninsula, that can accept commercial food waste.
We've been working with a number of private firms to develop or to encourage the development of other facilities. It's just impossible to take food waste from Ottawa and ship it down to Niagara. One, the cost of doing that is outrageous. The taking of food waste through a community is not something that most communities along the way would support. But also the volume that the facility in the Niagara region can accept is less than 1% of total output.
To reach the objectives, the targets that have been set, we need to ensure that there is an avenue to divert organic waste. We've had chains that have put source separation programs into place and had it going to a facility and the capacity of the facility has not allowed it, or there's been a recent shutdown of one facility. That waste now has to be redirected back into landfill. We're quite concerned that if the provisions relative to the private sector participation in the waste management system aren't addressed, we won't be having the people come forward to make the investments into a central composting facility, the ones that are needed.
Mr Oliver: The cost isn't the major component. For a chain restaurant like McDonald's, if they are having to do source separation in one municipality one way and another one in a different way, what they are doing is using central companies that will do the processing, and they will do uniform source separation; that is, every store is identical.
What we're very concerned about is that we will get piecemeal, this patchwork: that Mississauga will have one rule, Niagara will have another and London a different one. For a chain operator, it makes it very difficult to respond to that because they're changing. By using a private firm that's on province-wide, or even having province-wide standards, which we have now, it addresses that because you have one rule that's applied to all your franchisees or all your corporate stores.
Mr David Johnson: I just wondered if the restaurant association had seen the OWMA brief. They were concerned about flow control as well, and flow control seems to be one of your major concerns. Have you seen their brief?
Mr David Johnson: They suggest that "waste management system" be amended to mean facilities and services that are owned, operated or controlled by a local municipality or other public body for the management of waste, including collection, removal, transfer, processing, etc of waste. Would the inclusion of the words "local municipality" in there address your concerns with regard to flow control, remove the flow control from the ICI sector?
Mr Oliver: Yes, addressing it by having specific controls placed on or just wording that addresses that would ensure that ICI -- because we have some areas such as the organic waste now that we have going from Mississauga to Niagara region. Under current proposals, you could say that Niagara would say, "No, we're not accepting it," or that Mississauga wouldn't allow it to leave.
Mr Tilson: Just a brief question: You're very generous when you say the Ontario Restaurant Association does not believe it is the intention of the government of Ontario to intervene or undermine the waste management services provided by the private sector.
Mr Tilson: Very generous. However, I guess my question is that on this and other pieces of legislation, Bill 143, the whole issue of disposal of waste, the government has yet to put forward its plan as to how all this wonderful work is going to be paid for. My feeling is that it in turn will be passed on to the municipalities and, because of the restraints put on them by the provincial government, it will be in turn passed on to you and others in the private sector, which will create huge job losses and who knows what, simply because of the cost of disposing of it. Have you had an opportunity to discuss with government officials how all this is going to be funded?
Mr Oliver: We've had discussions with ministry officials, not specifically on the funding aspect but on the whole objectives for our industry. Our industry has taken a role of funding its own waste management system. Our concern is that we don't want to end up paying for residential, for example, the composting facilities at the back of the house. Someone's going to pay for those and we think it should be paid for by the user, and that's why we've suggested the idea of user fees being based for supporting municipal structures.
We pay for a lot of the waste management if we use a private contracting firm now. We see some savings, out of source separation, that can be attained. Our concern, though, is the downloading, and it may be just that municipalities will hit all property owners, commercial and residential, regardless of whether they use the system.
Mr Wiseman: I'm a little surprised to hear that there is only one person who collects organic waste and disposes of it. I know of a couple of people who do that. One picks up the organic waste and takes it to a farm and it's used to feed the pigs.
Mr Oliver: My comment was one facility that does composting for commercial. Our association has not endorsed food to animal feed because of health concerns and because of trade barriers that the Americans have threatened against that system. We've been working with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the ministry to come up with some guidelines to specifically address that. At this point, I believe there are a dozen and a half of the licensed cookers in Ontario that take the feed, but they're predominantly focused on the processing end, where a dairy will know exactly what is coming out its other end. With our industry, it's a wide, mixed bag.
Mr Oliver: I'm not sure of the exact percentage, but it's a declining percentage. No municipality in Ontario provides organic waste disposal for our industry. We're having to go to the private sector, and that represents more than 50% of our waste stream. To hit objectives of 50% diversion from landfill, we will have to go to the private sector. There's no two ways about it.
Mr Hayes: If we were to remove industrial solid waste from the definition of "waste," naturally there is a potential that the municipalities would have to cease the provision of this service to your members. Is this your intention?
Mr Oliver: No, it wouldn't exclude municipalities from providing services that they have now. We think that if you're using the municipal system, you should pay for it, and that's why we suggested user fees rather than property assessments or levies to fund it. If one restaurant uses a private contracting firm and funds a waste management system that way and its neighbour three doors down uses the municipal, we think the person using the municipal should support the municipal, proportionate to how much waste they generate.
I'm really going to talk about three things: Bill 7 and how it matches with the regulations, financing concerns, and the issue around private-public responsibilities and the dilemma we have there. I think you have my brief. I'll probably follow it closely -- it's short -- and then we'll be pleased to answer questions.
Chairman Brown and members of the committee, the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto welcomes the opportunity of making a deputation before this committee on a topic of such importance not only to Metropolitan Toronto but to all of Ontario.
Overall, Metropolitan Toronto appreciates the objectives that the province is trying to achieve with the proposed legislation and, in general, concurs with the content and the intent of the proposed legislation.
As early as 1990, Metropolitan Toronto had recognized that revisions to the sections of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act dealing with waste management would be required to clarify Metropolitan Toronto's waste management powers within its jurisdiction to ensure that Metro could implement an aggressive program for the diversion of waste from landfill in accordance with the provincial and metropolitan target of 50% by the year 2000.
We support the enhanced definition of "solid waste management," the clarification of the powers which can be utilized for waste management and the provision for the delineation of upper-tier and local municipality responsibilities to be decided at the regional level.
Metropolitan Toronto is pleased that Bill 7 provides for an explicit definition of the jurisdictional division between upper- and lower-tier responsibilities. However, we're concerned that the accompanying proposed 3Rs regulation contains provisions which would blur this division of authority and can only add friction between upper- and lower-tier municipalities relating to their respective obligations.
These provisions state, for example, that if a local municipality is within another municipality, then the upper municipality shall cooperate with the local municipality as necessary to enable the local municipality to fulfil any obligation it may have under the regulation. It also states that the upper-tier municipality must do whatever it has the capacity to do to enable the local municipality to fulfil its obligation.
Clearly, the obligation at the lower level is collection. It's hard to understand whether it's then saying, "Upper municipality, you've got to do everything you can to make sure the local municipality is able to do its job." We're just not sure what that means.
We are also concerned that some of the bill's provisions would result in a double layering of regulations or programs. For example, the bill allows bylaws to be passed requiring the separation of waste at the point of collection. Conceivably, both Metro under its waste reduction powers and the local municipality under its collection powers could pass bylaws pertaining to the same matter.
While we are in general agreement with the division of waste management powers between the upper and lower tiers of municipal governments and support the legislation, we have two main concerns with respect to issues not addressed in the legislation. The first one is the financial issue.
This legislation, coupled with the 3Rs regulations to be promulgated in August of this year, imposes financial burdens on both the upper and lower tiers of government in the absence of any discussion or indication of the manner in which such programs are to be financed and funded. The cost of separate collection of 3Rs materials, which will remain a lower-tier municipal responsibility, is already high and will continue to escalate as additional new materials are added to existing collection programs in order to meet the diversion targets.
We understand that a provincial discussion paper on the financing options for solid waste management has been prepared but has not yet been released for comment. We urge the province to commence its consultation with respect to 3Rs financing so that the implications of this legislation and the proposed 3Rs regulations can be fully assessed.
Our second concern is that the legislation does not provide for any measure of control over private sector collection, transfer or export of waste. The real concern is export. As you are aware, the current level of waste export from Metropolitan Toronto is estimated to be approximately one million tonnes per year. At current tipping rates, this represents the withdrawal of $90 million from the Metropolitan Toronto economy.
Although the bill contains provisions granting Metro a power of approval over the establishment of new private sector facilities where Metro has assumed the waste management powers, we have concerns with respect to what the establishment of terms and conditions of approval will in fact accomplish with respect to overall waste management planning.
In the absence of clear provincial legislation addressing the question of export, Metro remains unable to plan for the management of ICI waste within its borders with any certainty, but we are assuming again -- I have to reinforce that; we're assuming -- that we're being told by the province that we are to plan for all the waste generated in the region. So that's our dilemma.
May I just sum up by saying that I really think governments do have a role, and I am constantly reminded we're not just looking after the residential component of our municipalities; the business component is equally important. Everybody's expecting the government, at some level, to ensure that waste is managed in an environmentally sound way and at a cost level that people can afford.
Ms King: Yes. There are two issues: One is the planning issue and the other is more the technical, how you're going to do it. If we're supposed to plan and if we're supposed to assure the provincial level that we're going to meet these targets for all the waste generated, then we do have to have a way of controlling. If not, separate them out.
Mr David Johnson: This is a little dilemma for us. The private sector is saying it doesn't want to be subject to flow control, because not only do you direct where it takes its waste but also how much it pays. They're not sure that's going to be fair, and it also perhaps cuts the private sector out of waste management. In summary, is the best route for the burden of meeting the 50% target perhaps that it should be removed from the shoulders of the municipalities, maybe just have the municipalities focus on municipal waste?
Ms King: You could do it that way. I think a good part of the issue has to be this export issue and some control over that, because I'm not sure that you have any way of ensuring the diversion if you're not keeping it within Ontario.
Mr David Johnson: I'll just ask one more. In terms of the jurisdiction, I think you're saying that collection should probably remain at the local level and disposal at the regional level. This bill actually muddles that up a bit. It says that Metro, for example, could vote and take over curbside collection. You would have no problem if it were clarified that the regional government must do disposal and that the local governments would essentially look after collection, unless there was an agreement between the local and the regional governments, in which case the regional government could assume that authority.
Ms King: As you know, within the Metropolitan Toronto area, we have been trying to work, and we have worked very well, towards developing an agreement. The bottom line is that our experience has been the local municipalities collecting, and if the region is the one that's planning and responsible for deciding what's going to go into the blue box and how you're going to process it, it's difficult if you haven't got a way of ensuring that the local municipality will then collect the things you need and in the way you need them.
Ms King: It was interesting how it all seemed to happen. There was legislation that came from the other side of the border which had very specific controls on what could cross into the states, but it was controlled by the states. It used to be that unless it had been previously incinerated, I believe -- is that correct, Jim? -- you couldn't take mixed waste across the border, as we see it going now. Those rules got changed there. It seems to me that some similar kind of rule would be the way you would do it.
Mr James Anderson: If I may, I recognize the fact that it's a very difficult issue, because there has been an attempt to have flow control in various of the states, and some of those provisions have been attacked because of the constitutional issues with respect to the federal and state jurisdiction. I think there's a recognition on behalf of Metro that it is a very difficult issue and requires some type of coordination between the federal and the provincial level.
Mr Lessard: You are also talking about a mechanism for coordination between the public and private sector as far as planning. When we're dealing with a bill before the committee, we need some suggestions as to provisions we can look at to try and implement the suggestions you have. I know you don't have any specific amendments that you're proposing here today, but we're --
Ms King: I guess one of the things we should be asking is this: Is our assumption correct that the government is asking the regional levels to be responsible for the planning for all the waste generated within the region? Is our assumption correct?
Mr Hayes: All the waste, yes, but it's not just strictly being put on the backs of the municipalities, because we have certainly indicated that we want these partnerships out there, along with the private sector. Everyone would be involved with the two different ministries, the municipalities and the private sector.
Ms King: Yes, absolutely. Just for your interest, I remember when we all of a sudden realized that something dramatic had happened: The waste just was not coming to Metro's landfill facilities. We went to the private sector and asked the question: "What's happened? Where's it gone?" Nobody could give us any specific details. It just didn't seem to be there. We asked that many times. We got this sense that there's nobody who really understands or has the plan or has the ability to say, "This is what's happening out there."
Mr Daigeler: Just a quick question, really related to what you just said. In your last sentence in your presentation, you say "a mechanism for coordination of public and private sector planning is required." Is there no such mechanism in place at the present time? Frankly, I find that somewhat hard to believe.
Ms King: We certainly have some informal committees. But at the municipal level, I think the private sector is right. At the moment, we, along with the area municipalities, are collecting and processing and managing the residential component. But we are not collecting or involved with the ICI sector. If we are expected to plan for it and be able to tell some level of government with some assurance, "Yes, 20% has been reached," or 30% or 40%, I think we'd have to have some measure of control over that.
Now I don't think that municipal governments want to take over the private sector; that's never been their intent at all. We should be able to work it together, but the dilemma for us really is, we're either going to have to have some authority to do it or you're going to separate it out, one or the other.
Mr Grandmaître: One short question. Joan, you made sure in your presentation that you underlined, twice as a matter of fact, that you thought that you would have the responsibility of all waste. In your consultation with the ministry, this was never clarified, that you should be planning for all waste, that your responsibility would be for all waste?
Ms King: It's dealing with the powers and we're just having to assume that they're talking the same language as the Ministry of Environment and Energy, which has clearly said, I believe, all waste in the area.
But I'm telling you, that's a question I'm asking, because if municipalities are responsible for all the waste generated and reaching these targets and showing at the end of it all -- we can show what Metropolitan Toronto's doing. We can show we've hit 25%, but we can only talk about the residential waste, which is about 40%. We have absolutely no idea what is actually happening with the rest. It has disappeared, but we can't tell you what has happened.
The Chair: If there's no representative from CUPE, perhaps we'll proceed with Laidlaw Waste Systems Ltd, Frank Paznar. Good afternoon. If you want to wait just for a second while the clerk distributes the documentation, you've been here most of the day, sir, so I assume you know the procedure. We'll now officially greet you and ask that you introduce yourself and your colleague for the purposes of Hansard.
I'd like to thank this committee for the opportunity to appear before it. We want you to know that Laidlaw supports the amendments that were proposed by the Ontario Waste Management Association and we agree with its submission presented here earlier this morning.
We also support staff's proposals which we were advised will be presented during Bill 7's clause-by-clause debate as noted by the Honourable Ed Philip. These amendments will help to alleviate some of the industry's concerns. However, two of the amendments are, in our view, less favourable to the private sector than the original version and some of our concerns relate to the wording that could be misinterpreted by a municipality.
Our main concern is the definition of "waste management system," and I think this has been recurring throughout the day. We're pleased to see that the ministry staff have tentatively accepted the industry's amended definition of "waste management system" as follows:
"`Waste management system' means facilities and services that are owned, operated or controlled by a local municipality or other public body for the management of waste, including the collection, removal, transfer, processing, storage, reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal of waste."
We strongly encourage the committee to formally adopt this wording for Bill 7 to ensure that the legislated municipal powers apply only to the public sector. This one change to the wording will eliminate some of our suggested amendments to other subsections of the bill, but we still have other recommendations for amendments that are independent of your decision to change the definition of "waste management system."
If the committee does not amend the definition, then additional sections will need to be amended so that they exclude the private sector from their application. These amendments are explained in part B of our submission for both the Municipal Act and the Regional Municipalities Act.
We are concerned that Bill 7, if not amended to reflect the above definition of "waste management system," will overlap with the provincial jurisdiction in the area of waste management. Under the proposed legislation, if passed, a local municipality will be able to pass a bylaw relating to the establishment and operation of a waste management system, and a regional council may pass a bylaw to assume many or all of the waste management powers for all of its area municipalities.
Under the Environmental Protection Act, no person shall establish, use, operate or alter a waste management system or waste disposal site without receiving a certificate of approval from the director of approvals of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. We feel that a potential exists for conflict between municipal and provincial approvals. The overlap could be eliminated, however, if the EPA were given precedence over Bill 7.
If industry's recommended modification to the definition of "waste management system" is not accepted by the committee, we believe that subsection 208.6(1) can be made more precise by adding the words "of the municipality" at the end of this paragraph.
Fees and incentives based on waste: This paragraph provides that a bylaw in respect to the regulation of the use of any part of a waste management system may establish fees and incentives that vary based on the volume, weight or class of waste or on any other basis the council considers appropriate.
If the industry's proposed amendment to the definition of "waste management system" is not accepted by the committee, we request that subsection 208.6(2) be amended to exclude the private waste management facilities. This could be accomplished by changing the introduction as follows:
We would like to reinforce that overregulating the financial side of the private waste management industry will not promote the development of new facilities. If the market is overly constrained and regulated, so will be the development of new and innovative technologies, and as a province we will lose our competitiveness.
Entry and inspection and obstruction: Given our view that Bill 7 should only apply to public, ie, municipal, waste management initiatives, this section must also be modified to exclude from municipal inspection those lands that are owned by private waste management companies. We recommend that subsection 208.8(1) be amended and that a new subsection be added. I'll just go to the new section:
"(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an inspector of the local municipality may not enter on or inspect any land that is being used or is contemplated to be used for the management of waste, including the collection, removal, transfer, processing, storage, reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal of waste, by a private person or corporation."
Exclusive jurisdiction: The proposed amendment to subsection 209(10), to be introduced during the clause- by-clause debate, is less favourable to the private sector than the original version. The original version prohibits a person from providing "such services or facilities," ie, services or facilities for any part of the public waste management system, without the consent of the council of the county.
The proposed amendment would prohibit a person from providing "public or private services or facilities of the type authorized by the powers assumed by the country." This could prevent a private company from undertaking any initiatives, such as operating a landfill, a material recovery facility and other 3Rs initiatives, if the county decided to undertake the same initiative itself.
To avoid a public sector monopoly and to allow the survival of the private sector there must be a level playing field. Monopolies only serve to impede efficient and cost-effective service and to inhibit new ideas and technologies.
If the committee prefers the proposed amendment to subsection 209(10), we suggest changing the word "may" after the word "consent" to "shall" and inserting the word "reasonable" before the word "terms" towards the end of the subsection. Our comments on clause 151(1)(c) of the Regional Municipalities Act apply equally to this subsection.
Exemption: The proposed amendment, put forward for clause-by-clause review by ministry staff, is an improvement over the original version. However, the proposed subsection refers to the "collection of waste" only. To more accurately reflect the variety of services offered by the private sector and to encourage future investments, we suggest that clause 209(10.1)(a) be amended as follows:
Definition of "waste": We believe that the definition of "waste" in proposed section 149 should be clarified and modified so that it specifically excludes hazardous waste from the purview of the legislation. In this regard, we propose the following amended legislation:
"`waste' means ashes, garbage, refuse, domestic waste, industrial solid waste or municipal refuse and such other materials as may be designated by bylaw passed by the regional council, but does not include hazardous waste or subject waste as those terms are defined in the Environmental Protection Act or any regulation thereunder."
Similarly, we note that the proposed definition of "waste management power" in proposed section 149 of the Regional Municipalities Act means any power conferred by statute on a municipality related to the establishment etc of a waste management system as defined in section 208.1 of the Municipal Act. That definition refers to "the management of waste," and the proposed definition of "waste" in the Municipal Act is very similar to the one in the proposed section 149 of the Regional Municipalities Act. We therefore recommend the same change to the definition of "waste" in the Municipal Act.
Subsection 151 declares that a regional corporation may provide terms upon which consent may be granted to a private company regarding waste management services or facilities. A significant issue is to determine the conditions of consent. Our concerns, however, would be satisfied if staff's recommended amendment to the definition of "waste management system" is accepted by committee.
If the definition is not amended, we note that other than the payment of compensation, the proposed legislation does not mention what other terms of consent may be granted. To decrease costs and the use of OMB appeal mechanisms, we recommend that minimum terms of consent be incorporated into the proposed legislation.
One specific condition that should be incorporated is that, subject to an agreement to the contrary between the regional corporation and a private company, any consent must be for the entire life of the facilities involved or for the entire duration of the services provided. To do otherwise would leave a private company in a situation where it might have to bear the imposition of more onerous conditions in order to continue its operations.
"(c) The regional corporation may give its consent to a person or to a municipality, other than a participating area municipality, to provide such services or facilities, which consent shall, subject to an agreement to the contrary, be given upon the following terms:
"(ii) the payment of any compensation will be based on the reasonable cost to the regional corporation of having such services or facilities provided by a person or municipality, other than a participating area municipality;
"(iv) to the extent possible, the standards to be applied in respect of any and all testing, sampling, monitoring, remediation, and any other work will be those applied by the relevant regulating ministries; and
Technical aspects of any waste management system should be governed by the terms of any certificate of approval or other regulatory instrument. The MOEE, and not municipal authorities, has the expertise to deal with such matters. In our view, such conditions should be included in any agreement reached between a private firm and the regional council in question.
Mr Chairman, the other report that was distributed as part of our presentation was in response to one of the deputants this morning who was saying that quite often the public sector can do it cheaper than the private sector. That is an independent study done by the professor of law and economics at the University of Toronto that clearly indicates that the private sector does it 52% to 75% cheaper, and I would encourage members of this committee to go through that report at their leisure.
Mr Tilson: Thank you for your presentation. Someone's thought it out well and I will look forward to spending some more time reviewing it, as well as this package here, which hopefully will enlighten us, and I thank you for that as well.
The issue of creating a monopoly: I concur with you. I think that's what this legislation is doing. It's creating a public monopoly, in effect. Obviously, this government is determined to reduce, and it can be applauded for that. Obviously, if it doesn't put some restrictions on private enterprise to reduce, then I guess the next question is, how do they do that? I think you were present when the presentation was made by the restaurant group.
Mr Tilson: I was interested in double taxation and comments like that, which in effect is what it is. It doesn't really affect you, but it's the same sort of principle. It almost discourages -- it probably does. It will discourage private enterprise from getting involved in this, if this pursues, along with Mrs King commenting that perhaps they should take over the whole operation.
Mr Paznar: I think the question was asked, and perhaps this is the best way to respond: What has happened to the waste? When the fees went from $75 to $152 overnight and we had to go and tell 40,000 customers that we are now going to double the rate to them, a lot of them thought we were ripping them off and we lost a lot of our customers. Yes, maybe some of the other people picked them up, but it took us a long time to win that confidence back.
All of a sudden, we found other alternatives, the industry found alternatives. We're not going to be held hostage at $152, because it was unreasonable. A lot of the businesses already pay the business tax. They pay the municipal taxes that include pickup. It's only when they have excessive amounts that they come to the private. If you ask where the waste went, when a group is not competitive, people don't shop there. This applies to any store. We can see them closing up. Those that haven't been competitive, that don't meet today's marketplace, are not going to be there tomorrow. If the municipalities have flow control and they have virtually all of the landfill sites -- Halton was going to open at $205 a tonne.
Mr Paznar: That's right, and perhaps they didn't lower it enough. Waste is a commodity today. It has to be treated as a commodity and you have to adjust the price accordingly. We are meeting all the environmental standards. In fact, our company vision, mission value, states that we shall exceed government standards. We are attempting to do that everywhere.
Mr Wiseman: One of the major problems with the siting of any landfill site in a community is the bad record that Metropolitan Toronto has left in its wake of poorly managed landfill sites, particularly the Brock West landfill site.
What I would like to ask, though, is, given that you are in the midst of a landfill site search in the eastern end of Durham, would you support an amendment to this bill that would require the creation of community liaison monitoring teams on the day-to-day operations and making sure that certificates of approval are being fulfilled?
Mr Paznar: I think it's a question of, is it going to be legislated or is it something that we do? We normally do that. Wherever we operate a landfill, we have a public liaison group. We don't have a problem with that. I think the problem comes, again, if you try to legislate it. Then all of a sudden here's another body that has authority over you. It's not a case of a working relationship any more; it's somebody dictating, saying, "We're not going to give you our approval if you don't plant that tree right here."
Mr Wiseman: That would depend on the regulations. What I'm talking about, just to give you an example, is that the local community has not had access to the Brock West landfill site to monitor covering material, odours, collection of blowing waste and so on. They've tried to have Metro charged a number of times. They even called in the police. It hasn't been charged. What communities are looking for is some degree of assurance that the certificates of approval are being followed.
Mr Paznar: As long as we're part of the committee, we have a working relationship. We don't have that problem. We'll allow people on site, but not at unreasonable times. If somebody comes there who has an expertise and wants to see something, we'll be glad to show them. We're doing tours of our landfill right now. We have an open house in Newcastle. We've welcomed every neighbour, we've welcomed everybody out, and said, "Come on and take a look at it." We don't have a problem with it.
Mr Daigeler: Thank you for your presentation and for the very detailed way you have described possible amendments, and possible alternatives if these possible amendments aren't accepted. I think this is always useful for the committee and for those who draft the law.
You, as well as several of the other presenters, have mentioned that expansion of the private waste management industry is somewhat on hold, and you were mentioning that if there's too much regulation, it will limit, obviously, the incentive for the private management industry to promote the development of new facilities. Could you describe a little bit what's presently on hold and what that is in terms of impact on jobs, and where?
Mr Paznar: Very simply, where the private sector operates: We have the Mississauga contract and we have the Halton contract. In Mississauga, we pick up 12 items in the blue box. I believe Metro picks up four; I'm not sure. We pick up 13 items in Halton. We have a facility currently where we are disassembling photocopiers and computers. In the areas where the municipalities operate it, they go to a landfill. Three of these units make up a tonne. We provide work for people disassembling this.
The resources go back to the industries. In fact, we're taking out lenses. We were looking at them. We didn't know who might make use of them, but we're sending them to schools now for their science classes. They're perfectly good lenses. Why should they be landfill? But there's a lot more.
We have new technology we're looking at that's available, but we're not investing in it because we don't know where the government is going with its regulation. This is a primary problem for our company. We have the facility, that was mentioned earlier, in Newcastle. We are proposing a total resource centre -- we have 600 acres of land -- where we would encourage industries to come in, like the aluminum people, the steel people, rubber, all of the various elements that make up the waste stream, and we would remove and they would palletize or in some form remanufacture. Only the residue would then go to the landfill.
This is what we're proposing. We have no problem meeting the 50% reduction rates. We've already stated that. We are doing it. We are doing audits out there on a regular basis with our customers. We're showing them how to reuse, how to reduce. This is happening today.
Mr Daigeler: Don't get me wrong, I don't really want to sort of be too sceptical towards the commitment, but I think in the interests of putting it on the record, how real is that commitment? Are there any examples in other provinces or perhaps the US where in fact this is being done?
I remember the argument from the pharmaceutical companies that they were going to invest in research if the federal government guaranteed certain things. I just want to make sure the public can be reasonably assured that this commitment you're making today will be honoured.
Mr Paznar: I believe our commitment is on record. We have publicly stated it. I'm just reiterating what has previously been said by the chairman of the board of our company. We have expanded internationally. We are buying new technologies. We are working with municipalities. We are forming partnerships. This is existing, and our company has grown and is continuing to grow in this field. So yes, we will make substantial investments in this area as long as we have the ability.
Just recently in the city of Toronto, they broke off the apartment block bulk pickup and put it in the private sector. It is going to save the city over $9.5 million for the same service. That's just one small example. All it is, is that it is perhaps a better vehicle, a little more efficient pickup. We have a new vehicle we want to launch and manufacture, but we're not going to launch and manufacture it if we are under the control of a municipality that decides, "No, that's not the kind of vehicle we want; we want one of those and we want it painted orange," because that's what's happening.
The Chair: I would like to bring to the attention of the committee that we have a note that I believe all members have. It's been distributed by the clerk. It's from Bob Breeze, the director of the waste reduction office of the Ministry of Environment and Energy with regard to the Gananoque experience, just so that you see that it's there.
I am told by the clerk that the Canadian Polystyrene Recycling Association has cancelled its presentation. This completes the work of the committee for today. We'll see everybody in about two weeks, provided the House remains sitting. We are adjourned.