Resuming the debate adjourned on Oct. 3, 2013, on the motion for second reading of the following bill: Bill 91, An Act to establish a new regime for the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste and to repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002
Mr. John O’Toole:
- But Bill 91—that is the one. It’s the Minister of the Environment’s, and they’re setting up these unelected groups again. They’re sort of like the environmental LHINs—do you understand?—to look after this thing.
- The Waste Reduction Act is a Liberal shell game that shifts eco taxes from the consumer’s receipt to the price tag. We’ve said that. The bill will not only fail to meet the Ontario PC Party demand to scrap eco taxes, but it also fails to eliminate the Liberals’ recycling cartel and the government’s unaccountable oversight agency, Waste Diversion Ontario.
- The Liberals plan to give the agency enforcement powers and the authority to set collection fees from businesses, which will then be passed on to consumers as part of the eco taxes paid on the product price tag. So it’s hidden.
- Waste Diversion Ontario has broken the trust—there’s the word, “trust”—of Ontarians time and time again and should not be rewarded by more power, bigger multi-million-dollar budgets funneled through the eco tax program. So it is disheartening—and I’m not for one moment trying to explain or apologize.
- There has been increasing pressure from waste haulers and processors to create a more powerful government agency to regulate the recycling sector in favour of their industry and at the expense of business paying into various government recycling programs.
Ms. Catherine Fife:
- There are some good things, though, in this bill. If you read it, you’ll see that there are some good things, because we have to make up for 20 years of lost traction and lost progress. So we do need to accelerate our efforts as a province to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover, and the recovery piece is not embedded into this bill. We need to refocus our attention on avoiding sending things to landfills altogether.
- Ontario’s solid waste facts: 75% goes to landfills; diversion rate, 23%; energy recovery, 2%. What a missed opportunity in this bill to generate energy through waste. There is room for improvement, and we are going to tackle those problems when it gets to committee. It’s going to get to committee, because we’re going to support it, because something needs to be done.
Mr. Todd Smith:
- The Waste Reduction Act, as my friend from Durham pointed out, is just another way for this Liberal government to create public sector jobs at the expense of private sector companies. These private sector companies are the ones that are creating wealth and creating jobs in our province today. We can’t afford at this time to create more public sector jobs.
Mr. Jonah Schein:
- We are the worst in this country when it comes to waste diversion. The “waste” in the title of this bill could apply to a waste of time for the last 10 years that the government has been here, for sure, but a waste of time particularly on this issue—a waste of opportunity
- The Conservatives, if they believed in job creation, would take a look at the facts here and take a look at the fact that seven jobs could be created for every one job in just throwing trash away. If we actually put people to work to divert waste, to recycle and to reuse waste, we could be creating jobs here.
Mr. John O’Toole:
- Under our plan, the Ministry of the Environment would set measurable, achievable recycling targets for manufacturers and importers of electronic waste. The minister then would set environmental standards to ensure the materials are actually recycled. Then we would monitor the outcomes. That’s in place. That’s doable today. We don’t need another bureaucracy.
Ms. Teresa J. Armstrong:
- My understanding of the bill, as it stands at second reading, is that Bill 91 is a step towards making producers responsible for the waste they produce. I hope we can all agree that, in that principle, it is a very good idea.
- Ontario’s waste diversion rates are among the worst in the country, and the amount of waste we produce continues to rise every day. We’ve lost track of the 3R hierarchy: reduce, reuse and recycle. In some cases, the government has spent more time focusing on burning waste rather than reducing it. It’s time to return to the three Rs; they aren’t just a lesson for our children in school.
- Our progress in reducing packaging has been minimal. We’ve moved away from refillable containers, and shamefully, we are one of the few provinces without a deposit return program for beverage containers.
- Even the Environmental Commissioner stated in 2010 that “‘current programs under the” Waste Diversion Act “do not encourage producers to focus on waste reduction first, reuse second, and recycling third. Instead, they generally focus on finding the least costly means of collecting and recycling materials.... there is no direct financial incentive provided to individual producers to reduce their costs through product design, such as designing a product that is easier and cheaper to recycle. The lack of direct financial incentives to improve product design can be an impediment to reducing waste, increasing reuse, and ultimately striving for zero waste.’”
- It further prevents retailers from applying a separate eco fee to products by requiring all-in pricing for consumers, so that consumers know what they’re paying; there are no hidden costs or hidden fees that they’re not used to.
- It also expands waste diversion to the institutional, commercial and industrial sectors, ICI, for example. It makes printed paper and packaging designated materials. That’s important, as well.
- While much of this bill sounds promising, I feel that we really need to discuss the limitations of Bill 91 in order to improve it. The bill is a good idea, it’s a good start to talks about how we can effectively have better waste reduction in our communities, in our country, but I’m really looking forward to having this bill passed so that we can do the real hard work and dissect this bill very thoroughly in committee.
- Bill 91 does not mention the aim of achieving zero waste or the goal of protecting the environment and human health. The longer-term goal of the act should be to move forward as a province, where goods which are not safely recyclable are no longer sold here. That’s an important thing we also need to discuss.
Hon. John Gerretsen:
- What this bill does is, it makes the producer of a product responsible for the ultimate reuse of that product, the ultimate proper disposal of that product and mining it into new products. There are some fantastic companies in this province. We’ve got a tire recycling outfit just outside of Stratford that takes old tires, makes them into crumb tire and basically uses it as part of the paving material for new roads.
Second reading debate deemed adjourned.
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