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Arbitrator Robert Armstrong has ruled that the Ontario Blue Box funding arbitration between municipalities and Stewardship Ontario is to be held in public:

“This arbitration concerns a significant environmental protection program for the province of Ontario. It also concerns a potentially significant amount of taxpayer money. Every municipality with a population in excess of 5,000 persons is required to have a blue box program. The program in issue here involves over 200 cities, towns and other municipalities in the province… What is not funded by SO will be paid from the public purse…

This is not a typical commercial arbitration dispute carried out pursuant to the Arbitration Act. The crux of the dispute concerns a government program, and the outcome may have significant consequences for Ontario taxpayers. Further, this is not a case where a governmental entity was acting in a private capacity by entering into a commercial contract. The City of Toronto and the members of the AMO are governmental entities engaged in a public program in respect of the protection of the environment….

As I see it, an open and transparent hearing process in this case will serve the public interest and will not detract from the parties’ ability to achieve a fair and just result. Issues concerning confidentiality can be appropriately addressed as they arise.”

For a copy of the decision, click here: Blue Box Arbitration — Updated Public-Private Decision — March 24

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