Public Service Announcement: There is a lawsuit against the privatization of garbage collection in Toronto

To limit their costs, and perhaps raise up to $200 million a year, the private garbage-hauling company Element Fleet and the City of Toronto negotiated a 20-year agreement in 2017 to enable the city to privatize the collection of trash and refuse in residential areas and transfer stations. Under the terms of the new contract, the city agreed to pay by the ton the companies $200 million in guaranteed payments over the 20-year life of the contract. The companies would then hire their own full-time employees to collect trash, since the city’s privatized system would only pay them for used tons. (City workers are required to get certified to pick up trash and must fill out a lengthy application to get a city garbage collector’s license.) An estimated 14,000 city employees would be laid off if the privatization agreement went through. According to a report released today, the private haulers may be overcharging the city in part because they struggled with trouble hiring enough qualified workers and due to technological glitches during the first year of the contract. And, according to the report, the cost of picking up trash may be even higher than the city has been saying.

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