Municipalities push for Ontario waste bill

Municipalities in Ontario took out advertisements this week warning a proposed law aimed at reducing the amount of garbage being sent to landfills is in jeopardy.

Municipalities in Ontario took out advertisements this week warning a proposed law aimed at reducing the amount of garbage being sent to landfills is in jeopardy.

The Waste Reduction Act aims to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste and also make producers of waste take more responsibility for their packaging and paper.

It calls for the costs of recycling to be included in a product's price, and would also create an agency to do inspections.

MPPs have spent months debating the bill after its second reading at Queen's Park, and have now gone on Christmas break with the legislation still up in the air.

Ottawa city councillor Peter Hume said Ontario towns and cities are keen to update the 2002 Waste Diversion Act. Cities and counties across the province are hoping that with producers picking up more of the costs, their financial burden will lessen. 

Hume said offices, shops and industry still recycle very little of their garbage, and companies don't pay their share of the cost to run the blue box recycling program.

He said people in communities across the province, including Ottawa, want less waste.

"I don't see anyone clamouring Ottawa city council saying 'Hey, we love that landfill, we want more of them," said Hume.

"No. They want more diversion. They want less packaging."

PCs view bill as 'job killer'

The Progressive Conservatives, however, say the Liberal government's legislation is flawed.

Jim McDonnell — MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry — said his party won't support it unless changes are made.

"We see this as a job killer," said McDonnell.

McDonnell said manufacturers are saying they are having a hard enough time staying in the province, and said the legislation will make it more unaffordable and add another layer of bureaucracy.

Hume rejects those arguments as playing to people's fears.

"We know what's at stake here and we're doing everything we can to create an environment that sees this bill passed," said Hume.

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