Toronto, Ontario, November 29, 2011 - The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) welcomes today’s release of the Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller’s Annual Report, Engaging Solutions.
In the report, he called upon the recently elected provincial government to make waste diversion one of its top environmental priorities.

“AMO has long said that Ontario will be in a heap of trouble if we don’t change waste management policies to ensure that we improve waste diversion and change the way we pay for related costs,” said AMO President Gary McNamara. “Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner was right to point to the urgent need to get down to business after too many years of wasted opportunities and talk.”

AMO supports the Commissioner’s call for new and dramatic changes to Ontario’s waste management framework to increase waste diversion and to hold industry stewards responsible for the disposal costs of what industry produces.

While putting garbage at the curb and forgetting about it might be convenient, it is not cheap, and it is certainly not smart. Waste diversion makes far more sense, but it only works when consumers and producers accept greater responsibility for the waste they create.

Ontario needs a long-term, sustainable waste management strategy. As the Environmental Commissioner pointed out, failure to create and implement such a strategy hasn’t been for a lack of policy tools and solutions.

The Commissioner’s Report outlined 19 separate proposals that have been tabled to improve waste management and diversion practices in Ontario, stressing the need to act quickly to turn these proposals into action. Some of the proposed policies include: 

  • Banning designated materials from disposal.
  • Shifting waste diversion programs from extended producer responsibility (EPR) to individual producer responsibility (IPR), making producers fully responsible for meeting waste diversion requirements for the waste they create.
  • Prohibiting producers and retailers from making their environmental management costs (steward fees) visible as separate charges at point of sale.
  • Requiring retailers to take back products at end-of-life.
  • Streamlining the governance and administration of waste diversion programs by: clarifying roles and responsibilities; introducing a clearer set of checks and balances; introducing more effective compliance tools and penalties.
  • With diversion rates at 23 per cent it is clear that much more needs to be done. Ontario is quickly running out of landfill space, and we are already shipping 35 per cent of our waste to the United States.
“AMO is counting on all political parties to work together to build a comprehensive waste management strategy for Ontario,” said McNamara.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

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