War of words on BC EPR at Canadian Stewardship Conference

It is not too often that organizations air their policy differences at a business conference but that is exactly what happened during a session at the Conference on Canadian Stewardship yesterday afternoon.

Glenda Gies, speaking on behalf of Allen Langdon, Managing Director of Multi-Materials British Columbia, gave a presentation on the new BC Extended Producer Responsibility program, gave an overview presentation on how the new program, intended to come into effect next year, would work. Her presentation was followed by one from Mayor Wayne Wright of the City of New Westminster in Metro Vancouver.

It was clear from the Mayor’s presentation that municipalities in BC are not happy with the new EPR program. Saying that the devil is in the details, the Mayor challenged a number of aspects of the new initiative and suggested that it may not give BC residents the quality of recycling collection program that municipalities want. A number of municipalities have asked MMBC and the province to delay implementation of the program by 90 days to allow further review and negotiation of the program details. Wright and Gies could not even agree on the number of municipalities that have asked for the delay, with Wright claiming it to be 22 and Gies saying it is somewhat less than that!

Bureaucrats and program advisors should by now know that something that is absolutely taboo when working with government or quasi-government programs is to embarrass the Minister. Allowing this difference between MMBC and BC municipalities to be aired in a public forum should have been a big no-no. GallonDaily bets that municipalities will get their way, that the program will be delayed and possibly amended, and that the new BC EPR will be off to a very rocky start, if it takes off at all, because of inadequate consultation with municipalities and, now, interference from provincial politicians.

It is time that ‘experts’ recognized that they are not experts when it comes to the court of public and politician opinion.


This item is a GallonDaily original from the Conference on Canadian Stewardship. More from the conference in future articles. We will report more on the BC EPR program in Gallon Environment Letter as soon as the BC Environment Ministry determines the final form of the initiative.

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