The Minister of the Environment has in principle accepted a proposal to create a new Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) governance structure.

Today, the Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment, announced the government’s commitment to refocus its attention to the province’s waste diversion goals. To get back on track, the government is looking into ways of improving its oversight of Ontario’s waste diversion programs so that waste diversion objectives are met and that producers remain responsible for the waste that their products generate.

WDO Governance

The Minister has in principle accepted a proposal to create a new Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) governance structure.  The Ministry will be providing a proposed amendment to the operating agreement that would implement a new WDO governance structure. An agreement is to be finalized and approved by the Minister in the coming weeks. This will allow for the transition to a new Board and its members being appointed at WDO’s annual general meeting in April 2012. AMO, made a submission and has previously discussed this matter with MOE.

In addition to the governance restructuring of WDO, the Minister, today, has provided several policy directives under section 7 of the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 to WDO. Directives include:

1)  Full Cost Recovery

On February 9, 2012, a regulation was made under the Act that implements a new fee setting methodology allowing Stewardship Ontario to recover from stewards its full costs related to the operation of the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program (MHSW). WDO has been directed to work with Stewardship Ontario to ensure that the delivery of the program avoids the creation of surpluses or deficits that could affect the program’s financial sustainability.

In addition, WDO has been directed to work with Ontario Tire Stewardship and Ontario Electronic Stewardship to develop plans to implement a similar cost recovery and accumulated deficit/surplus recovery approach.

2)  Program Delivery

To improve program delivery, the Minister has directed WDO to report on the budgetary performance of all Industry Funding Organizations (IFOs) on a quarterly basis as well as implement a monitoring and audit program to review IFOs annual program performance and the achievement of plan targets.

3)  Industry Stewardship Plans

WDO will be required to review its policy and procedures on Industry Stewardship Plans (ISP) and consider several matters when reviewing an application or approving an ISP, for example, whether the plan achieves waste diversion targets similar or better than the associated waste diversion program; the fair operation of the plan in the market; and whether the plan ensures accessibility for consumers through its delivery of services. Regular monitoring, auditing and reporting of ISPs will be required.

WDO has been directed to consult with the public on any ISP that it reviews prior to the Board’s approval. Under clause 5(i) of the Act, WDO has been directed to submit a report on the review to the Ministry and its proposed policy and procedures on ISPs.

4)  Review of Incentive Programs

WDO will be required to undertake separate reviews on the development and implementation of financial incentives that are paid to service providers by Stewardship Ontario under the MHSW program, Ontario Electronic Stewardship under the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) program, and Ontario Tire Stewardship under the Used Tires program. These reviews will be conducted and carried out in consultation with Ontario’s municipalities and other stakeholders.

The reviews will address whether the development and implementation of financial incentives for these programs affect Ontario’s marketplace fairly, whether incentives are support the achievement of waste diversion targets and program objectives; an assessment on the impact of the incentive programs on municipalities and waste diversion services, including their accessibility across Ontario; and any other alternatives that IFOs might consider.

These reviews will be carried out in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders.

AMO will continue to represent the interests of its membership as these various reviews take place.

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