According to and article in The Sault Star by Dan Bellerose, Waste Diversion Ontario, a non-Crown corporation expected to reimburse nearly $300,000 to the community this year for its waste diversion programs, is in financial crisis.
"Unless the (provincial) government intercedes, Waste Diversion Ontario could very well be in its death throes," Councilor Steve Butland was quoted saying, in his appeal to his city council Monday. Council approved a $1,000 request of Butland, the city’s WDO representative, to attend next week’s WDO meeting in Toronto.
"The WDO is in financial crisis, there’s currently no cash flow to meet day-to-day operational needs," said Butland at the conclusion of the meeting.
The WDO executive assumed a used-tire program, unanimously approved by the board, would generate cash flow, but the program was eventually rejected.
"It took the minister (of environment) eight to 10 months to determine that the program was not acceptable The financial crunch wasn’t far behind," he said. Butland hopes his expenses will be reimbursed, but in the meantime hasn’t been reimbursed for personal expenses on the WDO’s behalf from May.
The three-year-old organization was established in June 2002 to develop, implement and operate waste diversion programs for a wide range of recyclable materials.
"The program is not functioning as intended and is in need of legislative change to give it some additional teeth," said Butland, whose organization works with the industries that produce and distribute products for diversion.
It’s not uncommon for board members, whose companies finance program costs, to vote one way at the board table then furiously lobby the ministry against its implementation, he says in the article.
Petroleum producers have recently walked away from funding a waste-oil recycling program.
Some industry observers see the current crisis as an opportunity for the provincial government to replace the WDO board solely with expert, disinterested third-party board members that can oversee the development and implementation of extended producer responsibility programs. Industry and municipalities could have input through their Industry Funding Organizations and advisory committees, but not have votes on the WDO Board. The removal of conflicts of interest could speed up the development of waste diversion programs in the future.