Public For A Reason

Privatization seems smart until you dig into what actually has to happen. 

  • A large investment in social services to deal with the influx of unemployment.
  • A vendor willing to take the job at a reduced rate because we’re trying to save money: one either desperate enough to take it, or big enough to absorb the loss. The former earns $400,000 fines when they can’t deliver (that happened in Winnipeg). The latter gets fined too, but they don’t care as long as the stock price holds.

These (among others) were reasons why the City of Toronto, when faced with their own privatization choice, decided that “the best value and lowest risk is to continue with the (public) model.”

The adage “haste makes waste,” is particularly true when it comes to outsourcing black cart waste management services, it is not a decision that should be made lightly. Privatization is a complicated process, and it is not the answer for managing service quality or efficiency and has mixed results on overall cost savings.

Now it’s our turn. 

The Herald reports there will be a private company taking over the garbage collection in 41 west and northwest neighbourhoods by 2022 as part of a seven-year pilot project. Firstly, what pilot project lasts seven years? Secondly, do we really want to go against almost every academic and real-world finding to save what will amount to $850K in savings? We know money has to be saved or generated. No one’s questioning that. But privatization isn’t the way.