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Commenting on behalf of

Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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Comment approved More about comment statuses



March 29, 2012

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Resource Recovery Policy Branch
c/o Krista Friesen
40 St. Clair Avenue West, 8th Floor
Toronto ON M4V 1M2

Re: ERO Number 019-2886 (RPRA’s Operating Agreement with the Minister)

Dear Krista:

On behalf of our 38,000 small- and medium-sized business members in all sectors across Ontario, we welcome the opportunity to comment on the proposed revised Operating Agreement between the Minister and the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA).

Ontario’s small- and medium-sized businesses are a key contributor to the strength and success of the provincial economy, accounting for 86.4 per cent of all jobs in Ontario’s private sector, including the resource recovery industry.

We appreciate that the proposed Operating Agreement would require RPRA to keep the Minister informed on proposed fee changes and results of related stakeholder consultations, and use “plain language” in its corporate planning and reporting documents.

Many of our members are directly impacted by recycling policies. That’s why it’s so important to hold RPRA to the highest transparency and accountability standards possible. We believe the following four key recommendations would help further strengthen the agreement.

Cap RPRA’s Annual Budgeting

The proposed Operating Agreement would allow RPRA contingency reserves of up to 50 per cent of its annual operating costs. However, there is no Ministerial direction on annual budget limits and rules about dealing with excess funds.

We must learn from past Industry Funding Organization budgeting experiences. For example, Ontario Tire Stewardship’s wind-up surplus that was expected to be $3M ended up at approximately $38M. Ontario Electronic Stewardship’s wind-up surplus that was expected to be $1.7M ended up being more than $25M.

To prevent RPRA from collecting millions of extra dollars that belong to businesses, the Operating Agreement should include a requirement that RPRA fund itself annually at a maximum of no greater than 105 per cent. RPRA should further be required to return any excess funds to the businesses that paid them in any year a surplus is achieved (i.e., any excess revenue must not be transferred to any fund).

Enshrine “Education First” in Enforcement

Small businesses are constantly bombarded with new rules and obligations from all levels of government, so the first job of RPRA compliance officers should be education, not ticketing. You can’t comply, if you don’t know the rules. RPRA should be required under the Operating Agreement to include the government’s “education first” approach to enforcement in the code of conduct, policies and guidelines for compliance and enforcement personnel.

Clarify RPRA’s Status in Responding to Public Requests for Information

The proposed Operating Agreement would mandate RPRA to develop and maintain an access and privacy code, and direct individuals to RPRA if they “wish to access information not published on the Registry”. However, it appears that RPRA is still not formally subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The Operating Agreement should clarify if and how RPRA will be held to the same standards as other government bodies that must respond to requests for information from the public under FIPPA.

Enforce Red Tape Accountability

As part of government-wide efforts to update the size of Ontario’s regulatory burden, RPRA provided the Associate Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction with a count of regulatory compliance requirements found in all RPRA-related legislation, regulations, policy documents, and forms. The Operating Agreement should include a requirement for RPRA to update this count annually to meet the deadline for the province’s annual Burden Reduction Report.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment. We hope you will seriously consider CFIB’s views on the proposed revised Operating Agreement.


Original signed by

Julie Kwiecinski
Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario