An Ontario court has fined the Municipality of West Elgin and three of its water distribution system operators a total of $193,125 for failing to maintain and document adequate chlorine levels in drinking water. The court has also sentenced the lead operator to 30 days in jail. Continue reading →
Manitoba regulators have charged Winnipeg for polluting the Red River and for failing to report the pollution. In explaining the decision to prosecute, the province cited the need for accountability. But if the city can pass fines along to taxpayers or water customers, is it really accountable for its errors? 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 May, the Manitoba government introduced The Public-Private Partnerships Transparency and Accountability Act. Ostensibly intended to ensure transparency, it may instead hamstring municipalities that want to pursue public-private partnerships. Continue reading →
CBC Radio’s “The Current” turns its attention to privatizing water and sewage services, engaging Environment Probe’s Elizabeth Brubaker and several others in a lively discussion about what greater private-sector involvement could mean for Canada. Continue reading →
In its third article about Elizabeth Brubaker’s report, A Bridge Over Troubled Waters, the Daily Commercial News reviews ways to control the costs of water and wastewater projects. Municipalities can tap into private management and engineering experience, negotiate financing and operating contracts with incentives to keep costs down, and reform water pricing to encourage consumers to reduce their water use and avoid the need for new infrastructure. Continue reading →
BNN’s “Headline” features a discussion of the privatization of city services, including water and sewage. Environment Probe’s Elizabeth Brubaker, CUPE’s Paul Moist, and Ontario Waste Management Association’s Rob Cook debate the merits of privatization. Continue reading →
Eric Laganis writes in EcoLog about Elizabeth Brubaker’s report, A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Alternative Financing and Delivery of Water and Wastewater Services. He reviews the problems facing Canada’s drinking water and wastewater systems and the solutions proposed in the report. Continue reading →
Veolia Water touts its sewage agreement with Winnipeg as a model for other communities. But Elizabeth Brubaker argues in the National Post that it would be a bad model, as it merely provides for "expert advice" on the design, construction and operation of Winnipeg’s sewage-treatment facilities. It brings no private investment, limits incentives and opportunities for savings, and blurs lines of accountability regarding costs and performance. 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 →
Energy Probe Research Foundation’s submission to the Walkerton Inquiry’s Expert Meeting on Guiding Principles for Drinking Water Safety explores the critical role played by legal liability in risk management.
An interview, for CBC Radio’s Ideas program, with Patricia Adams, Elizabeth Brubaker, and Lawrence Solomon. A discussion of the environmental, economic, and social harm wrought in the name of the public good, both in Canada and in the Third World, and of the counterbalancing protections offered by traditional property rights regimes.
This paper, published in Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, was prepared for Property Rights and Environment, an international conference organised by Centre d’Analyse Economique in June 1996. In it, Elizabeth Brubaker reviews the ways in which Canadians have used common-law property rights to protect water quality and chronicles governments’ tendencies to replace the common law with regulations that make it more difficult for individuals to protect waters.