Councillor Josh Matlow

Inside Toronto: Garbage collection goes private for parts of Toronto

October 25, 2011


Toronto Council has approved a contract that will see a private company collecting garbage from homes between Yonge Street and the Humber River.


The contract, worth $186.4 million, will see GFL (Green for Life) Environmental Corporation, collect garbage from 165,000 homes. The bid was a low one – for $17.47 million – and staff estimate it will save the city $11.9 million next year and $11.1 million on an ongoing basis. Over the course of the contract it’s expected to save $78 million.




Mayor Rob Ford, who had promised to contract out garbage collection in the 2010 election, was jubilant after the 26-16 vote.


“It’s a great day,” he said.


“We saved $78 million for taxpayers. It’s a campaign promise that I fulfilled – another one; we are doing exactly what we said we were going to do. A lot of people are very happy with that.”


Ford said he would like to contract out garbage collection in the east end of the city before the end of the term – and said he intended to run for a second term, and if contracting out wasn’t possible this term then he’d do so then.


“This is a challenging year no question, but year four we’ll contract out the rest of the garbage and if not then, then year five, six seven or eight,” he said.


Council was split on whether to go with Green for Life (GFL), however. The bid was significantly lower than other bids, and councillors worried that the bid had been low-balled and GFL wouldn’t be able to deliver for the price quoted.


Staff pointed out that GFL has posted bonds assuring this would be the case, giving the city $12 million to find another contractor if GFL were to go out of business.


But council narrowly voted against a motion by councillor Sarah Doucette, to hold off approving the deal until the city could obtain more numbers, and deal with issues raised by CUPE Local 416 and an independent assessment they paid to have made of the bid.


The contractor will be using 30 fewer trucks than the city does now, and Doucette said questions remain as to how garbage collection will work in the narrower roads and laneways of the former City of Toronto.


“I’m concerned,” she said. “How can you suddenly cut routes by 30 trucks? We aren’t overdoing the trucks. We’ve got small laneways. And I don’t know how many people they have. We have 252 – how many do they have?”


Mark Ferguson, President of CUPE Local 416, said the move will mean that 310 families in total will be affected – mostly temporary workers who will lose their jobs when the service starts next summer.


He said he believed the move was “payback for a legal strike that took place in 2009.”


For a full listing of vote results and to read this article on, please click here.



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