The various stakeholders in Ontario including producers, municipalities, private sector providers, the new Authority and others, are deliberating the next steps to transition from the old IFO monopoly system under the Waste Diversion Act to the now open and competitive system envisioned under the new Resource Recovery and Circular Economy (RRCE) Act. Workshops and discussions are being held to address how the new systems should be designed, the impacts, how a competitive environment can be supported, and, for example, what kind of clearinghouse functions are needed.
It is of some comfort that Ontario is not treading an entirely new path, nor is it moving alone at this time from a regulated monopoly system to competition in the compliance field. Many of the same actors, producers, retailers, waste management companies are involved in these changes in different parts of the world. This also includes Competition Authorities.
In the last few weeks the French Competition Bureau has stated its position regarding the opening of the Printed Paper and Packaging market in France. Namely, it speaks of establishing an independent clearinghouse by which the reserves (hundreds of millions Euros) of the existing monopoly, Eco-Emballage, should be managed. Recommendations also include sharing the data that Eco-Emballage holds, to ensure that new entrants in the market have a level playing field and that producers who choose alternatives other than the old monopoly organizations are not disadvantaged. We have also seen similar approaches in other countries worldwide including most recently Portugal which encouraged an equitable environment for new players.
It is noteworthy that in liberal democracies all over the world, Competition Authorities subscribe to the same principles and treat the issues of access for new entrants to the market in similar ways. The coming system in Ontario will certainly have aspects about it that are unique to Ontario. Fortunately for producers, the same kinds of protections and opportunities that are available in other countries will be available to them here as well.
Competition increases innovation, increases service, and reduces costs.
We will continue to provide our thoughts and comments on specific issues related to Ontario’s WFOA.