A new book on water management features a chapter by Elizabeth Brubaker on the role of property rights in protecting water quality. L’eau entre réglementation et marché, published in France, looks at innovative approaches to managing water quantity and quality and explores market mechanisms that may be more effective and less costly than traditional regulations. Continue reading
This paper, by Richard McNeil, explores Water Quality Trading (WQT) as a complement to the traditional regulatory approach to reducing water pollution. It examines the theory behind WQT, reviews common practices where trading has been introduced, and identifies principles for effective programs. It presents two Ontario case studies: the South Nation River watershed, where WQT has been a success, and the Lake Simcoe watershed, where WQT is currently being considered. Continue reading
This paper, by Adam Shedletzky, focuses on the legal provisions governing groundwater pollution due to fracking for shale gas. It examines the liability regimes (statutory and common-law) in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. It concludes with recommendations for strengthening the regulatory regime to enhance frackers’ incentives to take care and to ensure that those who are adversely affected by fracking can be “made whole.” Continue reading
Those who advocate purely public water and sewage utilities warn that private financing and operation impede transparency, diminish accountability, and undermine government regulation. They have it backwards: Public utilities have repeatedly shown themselves to be un-transparent and un-accountable. Continue reading
In this overview of shale gas in Canada, Manish Oza addresses basic questions about the location and volume of the resource, the environmental concerns associated with its extraction, and the regulatory regimes governing the industry. The paper is intended not to provide the last word on these issues but to help inform the still-early stages of the public policy discussion across the country. Continue reading
In this Commentary, published by the C.D. Howe Institute, Elizabeth Brubaker writes that drinking water and sewage systems across Canada threaten public health and the environment. Municipalities lack the resources to correct utility failings. Private water and wastewater services providers are well positioned to help municipalities with needed capital and expertise. Engaged through competitive contracting and governed by performance-based contracts, private providers have incentives to find efficiencies and perform well. Continue reading
The Ontario government has introduced legislation to conserve water resources, sustain municipal water infrastructure, and support Ontario’s water industry. In its submission on the proposed act, Environment Probe points out that it overlooks the role that pricing must play in achieving all three goals. The proposed act will be inefficient, ineffective, and even counter-productive. Its provisions are weaker than those in legislation that was passed in 2002 – legislation that has not yet come into force, since successive governments have refused to proclaim it.
Environment Probe’s submission to Environment Canada concerning the federal government’s proposal to regulate wastewater under the Fisheries Act. Probe raises four concerns about the proposed regulations: They will relax existing standards; they will dis-empower the public; they will allow some municipalities to pollute for another 30 years; and there is no guarantee that they will be enforced.
Environment Probe’s comments on Stewardship, Leadership, Accountability: Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario’s Water Resources for Future Generations, a Proposal Paper presented by Ontario Minister of the Environment John Gerretsen and Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield.
This chapter from A Breath of Fresh Air: Market Solutions for Improving Canada’s Environment reviews the challenges faced by Canada’s water and wastewater utilities and proposes private investment, private operations, and better accountability mechanisms, including enforceable contracts and more effective regulation of utility performance. It also recommends a federal role in facilitating private-sector involvement.
Prepared for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. This report examines reforms to the governance of municipal water systems in Ontario, considers factors determining their success or failure, identifies emerging solutions to lingering problems, and draws lessons that may help solve some of the problems plaguing aboriginal water systems.
Prepared for the Government of Ontario Panel on the Role of Government. This paper reviews recent setbacks for privatization and explores the reasons behind Canadian municipalities’ reluctance to contract out operations of their water and wastewater utilities.
By Elizabeth Brubaker
This book argues that public provision of water and wastewater services has not served Canadians well. Based on successes in other jurisdictions, it calls for the privatization of utilities and examines the conditions — such as competition, effective regulation, legal liability, and union support — necessary to make privatization work.
Published in 2002 by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Public Management.
EPRF’s presentation to the Walkerton Inquiry’s Public Hearing on the Management of Water Providers recommends privatization in order to attract private capital and expertise, encourage efficiency, and enhance accountability.
This submission to the Walkerton Inquiry concludes that OCWA is an unaccountable and ineffective agency that works in opposition to the public interest and discourages private sector involvement in the water sector.
EPRF’s presentation to the Walkerton Inquiry’s Public Hearing on Specific Sources of Contaminants recommends that farmers bear the full costs of preventing pollution from their operations.
This supplementary report, prepared for by the Walkerton Inquiry, reveals a decade of provincial interest in privatization. It reviews the anticipated benefits of privatization and the barriers to it.
EPRF’s presentation to the Walkerton Inquiry’s Public Hearing on Source Protection recommends that the provincial government should grant no one the right to contaminate a source of water.
This argument traces the Walkerton tragedy to the provincial government’s failed approach to regulation and enforcement and to its failure to implement its policies regarding the privatization and financing of water utilities.
EPRF’s presentation to the Walkerton Inquiry’s Public Hearing on Guiding Principles focuses on the need to eliminate conflicts of interest and to internalize costs.