NEWS RELEASE - May 3, 2019

COMPETITION BUREAU OF CANADA RECOMMENDATIONS TO BC ENVIRONMENT MINISTER  
ON METRO VANCOUVER BYLAWS 307 & 309

 

The Waste Management Association of BC (WMABC) is pleased with the Competition Bureau of Canada’s (CBC) recommendations to Minister Heyman regarding the Metro Vancouver’s Bylaws 307, 308 and 309.

Competition Bureau of Canada
The CBC expressed concerns that the Bylaws may have a negative effect on the level of competition and innovation for certain waste management services in the Metro Vancouver area.  
It also stated that measures that have significant negative effects on competition should only be implemented when legitimate public policy objectives cannot be achieved without these harmful consequences.  


The Bureau encouraged the Minister to consider whether Metro Vancouver’s environmental objectives could be met through other means that would allow the area’s residents to benefit from competition, which drives innovation, lower prices, increased product choice and higher quality services.

 
The WMABC is concerned that Bylaw 309 was not addressed given that actions in that Bylaw will prevent investment innovation, lower prices, increased product choice and higher quality services.

 
Reduced Competition 
The WMABC believes that If approved, the Bylaws would have reduced competition within private waste and recycling collection services industry and threatened to push smaller companies out of business resulting in job losses and less choice for waste generators in the selection of waste and recycling services.


The WMABC believes that Metro Vancouver abused its authority as a regulator of the private waste industry as the Bylaws would have reduced competition in the Region’s market thereby supporting and advancing  Metro Vancouver’s own private commercial interests as an operator in the very market they regulate. 

Increased Costs to Businesses and Taxpayers
If approved, the Bylaws would have increased costs to Metro Vancouver business with waste and recycling collection services, conservatively estimated to be more than $2,400 per year.  Collectively this would have been an additional annual cost of over $133 million on the Region’s businesses and those taxpayers who reside in multi-family residences, further exacerbating the lack of affordability within Metro Vancouver.

Going Forward
The WMABC has recommended the Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy reject Bylaws 307 and 309.  The Association provided the provincial government with an alternative policy approach to increasing waste diversion in the Metro Vancouver and provincial industrial, commercial and institutional  sector.

 

The Association also recommended the Minister direct his Ministry to bring together the private waste and recycling services industry, waste generators along with other stakeholders including Metro Vancouver and other regional districts across the province at a Waste Summit.  The purpose of the Waste Summit would be to discuss the key barriers and opportunities to develop a sustained approach to increase waste diversion in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector in a transparent, inclusive and collaborative environment.  

The WMABC stands ready and willing to work with the province and regional districts including Metro Vancouver.

For further information, please contact Lori Bryan, Executive Director at lbryan@wmabc.com
 

NEWS RELEASE - March 2, 2019

Lobbying Federal Ministers on Competition Bureau Investigation

 

As the Competition Bureau of Canada (CBC) is an independent investigative body, the WMABC was surprised Metro Vancouver would approach the federal ministers and request a meeting in what appears to be an attempt to inappropriately influence an ongoing investigation.

 

The CBC investigation concerns Metro Vancouver’s Bylaw 306, as well as proposed Bylaws 307 and 309 which are before the BC Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy for approval.  The WMABC believes that Metro Vancouver has used its authority as a regulator of the private waste industry to use these bylaws to support and advance its own private commercial interests as an operator in the very market they regulate. 

 

The WMABC believes this conduct by Metro is aimed at preventing competition and preserving and enhancing their monopoly at the expense of private waste processing facilities. This can be seen as an abuse of power by Metro Vancouver under Section 79 of the Competition Act.

 

The Bylaws are not a waste diversion strategy but a tax grab with significant environmental and economic impacts.

 

  • The Bylaws represent a new tax on each Metro Vancouver business with waste collection service, conservatively estimated to be more than $2,400 per year.  Collectively this is an annual tax of over $133 million on the Region’s businesses. This includes multi-family residences which further exacerbates the challenges of affordability within Metro Vancouver.

 

  • The effects of Metro Vancouver’s monopoly are already manifested in the large price increases now being imposed representing a massive 46% price increase over the next five years that stands in stark contrast to Metro Vancouver’s promise in late 2017 of a 10% increase over 5 years.

 

  • The Bylaws threaten to push smaller waste hauling and recycling service companies out of business resulting in job losses and less choice for businesses in the selection of waste and recycling services.

 

  • The Bylaws provide Metro Vancouver with an guaranteed additional revenue stream to fund the building of a second incinerator.

 

  • The Bylaws place a significant barrier to new private sector waste investments in innovative diversion technologies as they restrict business licenses to 10 years while its own facilities are amortized over a 25-30 year period. 

 

  • Metro Vancouver has failed to demonstrate how these actions will  increase diversion in the IC&I sector which is supposedly the intention of the bylaws.

 

  • Bylaws are contrary to the objectives and goals of the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan not to impede private sector investment in the delivery of waste management and recycling services.

 

Broad Opposition

These proposed bylaws are opposed by BC’s leading business and industry associations which all sent letters of opposition to the Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy which include. 

 

  • BC Chamber of Commerce

  • Business Council of BC

  • Vancouver Board of Trade

  • Surrey Board of Trade

  • Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

  • BC Landlord

  • Langley Chamber of Commerce

  • Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce

 

 

NEWS RELEASE - Oct 25, 2017

METRO VANCOUVER TO PASS NEW TAXES ON BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS DISGUISED AS ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

 

Metro Vancouver Taking Steps to Fund Second Incinerator

 

WMABC Urges Additional Public and Stakeholder Input

 

 

Vancouver, B.C., October 25, 2017 – Metro Vancouver is planning to quietly approve a new commercial waste collection license and waste generator levy that would add new taxes on businesses and residents of multi-family dwellings within Metro Vancouver that could fund a second incinerator.

 

“With all the public debate about affordability in the Region it seems rather tone deaf that Metro Vancouver would introduce a new tax on businesses and residents who reside in multi-family dwellings,” said Matt Torgerson, President of the Waste Management Association of BC (WMABC).

 

Metro Vancouver is proposing to introduce a new commercial waste hauling license on all waste haulers operating within the Region – in addition to existing business licenses - as well as the introduction of a new Mixed Municipal Solid Waste Generator Levy. The initiatives have been positioned by the Region to improve diversion rates in multi-family dwellings and industrial and commercial businesses commonly referred to as the ICI sector.

 

“No other jurisdiction in Canada has a commercial waste license and the WMABC believes that it is inappropriate for private waste collectors to enforce municipal disposal bans which are the sole responsibility of the municipalities who enacted them,” said Torgerson. “In what other industry does government create a bylaw, then outright refuses to enforce it, instead order the private sector to administer it, and then fine the industry when their customers inadvertently break the bylaw?”

 

Added Torgerson, “The proposed waste generator levy would allow Metro Vancouver the discretion to increase the levy fee which would be used to fund infrastructure projects, such as a second incinerator.”

 

Metro Vancouver Chair Greg Moore stated on radio station CHNL on August 21, 2017, that Metro Vancouver is still very focused on a second incineration facility which is contrary to statements made by Metro Vancouver staff, during one of the public consultation sessions as well as at a recent industry conference. The radio clip can be found here, http://bit.ly/2zCqyha

 

Metro Vancouver is also proposing amendments to the existing Bylaw 181 which include reducing private sector waste facility licenses to 10-year terms and maintaining a license appeals process that was previously rejected by the Ministry of Environment.  These amendments run contrary to Metro Vancouver’s own Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan that specifically recommends increasing private sector investment and removing unnecessary impediments to private sector investment.

 

The WMABC and many business associations have urged Metro Vancouver to delay the passage of these measures so that there may be further and informed consultation to avoid imposing a financial burden of new taxes on local businesses and residents.

 

The WMABC along with waste generators in the ICI and Multi Family sector stand ready and willing to work with Metro Vancouver to develop a program of solutions and options that will bring greater efficiencies to waste services and diversion programs and help the Region achieve its high diversion targets.  

For further information, please contact Lori Bryan, Executive Director at lbryan@wmabc.com

 

About the Waste Management Association of B.C.

For over 30 years the WMABC has provided a forum and unified voice for B.C.’s private sector waste management industry.  The Association comprises 70-member companies including collectors, waste and recycling facility operators, material marketers and industry suppliers.  Our members represent over 3,000 jobs in B.C. and provide the majority of waste and recycling services handled in the province of B.C.

Backgrounder Found Here