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Waste diversion in Ontario is spawning an unusual amount of litigation this year.

Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO), the delegated administrative authority which oversees several waste diversion programs under the Waste Diversion Act, is sending its breach of contract dispute with Stewardship Ontario to arbitration. This is separate from the Blue Box funding arbitration that began last week before arbitrator Robert Armstrong.

According to the WDO, it is “exercising the dispute resolution option contained in the Blue Box and MHSW (Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste) Program Agreements to help resolve the outstanding issues stemming from the Management Services Agreement executed between Stewardship Ontario and the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA)” so that WDO can continue to properly exercise its oversight responsibilities. This appears to be part of the fallout of stewards’ attempt to take national control of a series of provincial waste diversion programs. As part of this effort, stewards have allegedly moved staff, assets and information from the provincially regulated Stewardship Ontario to a new national entity, the CSSA.

WDO’s public letter to Stewardship Ontario says:

“As you know, we advised Stewardship Ontario that its actions concerning the CSSA/SO MSA are in breach of the Blue Box and MHSW Program Agreements in December, 2013 …

It is Waste Diversion Ontario’s position that Stewardship Ontario has entered into a subcontract without the prior consent of Waste Diversion Ontario, contrary to the Program Agreements between Stewardship Ontario and Waste Diversion Ontario. Specifically, in July, 2013 Stewardship Ontario executed a Management Services Agreement with the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance Inc. without either informing WDO of this agreement, or seeking WDO’s prior consent.

As I have stated previously, we require details concerning the implementation of the MSA, including the transfer of SO staff and administrative responsibilities to CSSA, in order to ensure that the Blue Box and MHSW programs continue to be operated effectively. In addition, given the apparent extensive transfer of both BB and MHSW program management and administration from SO to CSSA, as articulated in the executed MSA, WDO must have an explicit written undertaking from CSSA that provides for access to information and data held and managed by CSSA for the BB and MHSW programs, to ensure that WDO is able to exercise its oversight responsibility for these two programs. CSSA/SO have refused to provide this undertaking.

Waste Diversion Ontario will be seeking an order preventing Stewardship Ontario from implementing the MSA (or continuing to implement the MSA) and other appropriate relief until such time as WDO receives this information, the above data and information access issues have been addressed, and the WDO Board has approved the CSSA/SO MSA.”

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