Labour Council: Garbage privatization plan is an irresponsible risk

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Media Release

Labour Council: new facts show garbage privatization plan is an irresponsible risk

May 16, 2011

TORONTO -In light of the critical report from Al Rosen and Associates raising important questions about the savings claimed in the city's report, and the move of the author of the City's report, Geoff Rathbone, to the private sector, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council is again calling on City Council to reject the plan to push through privatizing waste collection.

Rosen has called city staff's costing "fundamentally flawed" and asks city council to first have an independent assessment of the cost of in-house delivery without which savings cannot be projected. According to Rosen's report, "the staff's cost efficiencies of contracting out would have to be labeled as 'fictional.' Available facts do not support staff's claims." Rosen is a well respected expert who worked for a variety of clients, including the provincial government.

Rathbone wrote the report recommending that the city contract out waste collection, and additionally asked that City Council waive the purchasing policy requirement for contracts to come back to City Council for approval. Circumventing City Council's final say on the contract had already been controversial because of past problems, and becomes more questionable after announcement that the author has accepted a lucrative position with a private waste contractor.

"These kinds of ventures are very risky. There's a reason why many jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. are now contracting their waste collection back in house. We just have to look at the sewage spill in Hamilton which ended up costing the public millions because of the fine print that let the private company off the hook," said John Cartwright, president of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.

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