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We’re very proud to announce our victory for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in the hard-fought Blue Box funding arbitration. Kudos to Glenn Chu and Matthew Cornett, who represented the City of Toronto at the arbitration as our co-counsel, and who successfully led the procedural and in-kind issues.

Under section 25(5) of the Waste Diversion Act, municipalities are entitled to “50 per cent of the total net costs incurred by those municipalities as a result of the program”, to be paid by stewards, i.e. the brand owners who sell packaged goods and printed papers to consumers in Ontario.

Arbitrator Robert Armstrong ruled that Stewardship Ontario must pay Ontario municipalities $115,172,322 for operating residential blue box programs in 2014, about $20 million more than Stewardship Ontario had proposed for 2014. The full decision is here: Blue Box Arbitration Award

Mr. Armstrong concluded that the municipal Datacall, as verified by Waste Diversion Ontario, provides “a reliable figure for the 2014 Steward Obligation” and met the reasonableness requirement he read into section 25(5). He rejected the so called “Best Practices” computer model proposed by Stewardship Ontario, determining that the evidence was insufficient to establish that it could produce a reliable number.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario Policy Update provides an analysis of both the decision and a discussion of next steps:

What’s Next?

Now that the arbitration process is complete, it is our view that its findings will be helpful to all parties given the Ontario government’s commitment to bring in new waste reduction legislation with full producer responsibility. Last week the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said that the new legislation is expected in 2015 and has signalled that they are looking to the producers and municipalities to develop workable solutions themselves as input to the legislation.

We understand that this includes producer-municipal sector discussions on a new Blue Box framework. AMO, with the City of Toronto, and with staff support from the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario and the Municipal Waste Association, is currently developing a sector approach to prepare for these upcoming discussions. Further information on these future waste diversion activities will be shared as it becomes available.

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