Companies ripping off Ontario to profit on bottled water

(Queen’s Park): Big companies are ripping off the province under the Liberal government, according to today’s report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

“It’s wrong for the Liberals to subsidize companies to bottle our water,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “The Liberal government is giving away our water to companies that bottle it and sell it back to us. This is outrageous.”

Most industries pay nothing to take water. This means the province recovers only 1.2% of the $16.2 million it spends on water quality management programs. Those who are required to pay for water are only charged $3.71 per million litres according to acting Environmental Commissioner Ellen Schwartzel.

“It’s irresponsible that the Liberals give most industries a total free ride,”  says Schreiner. “And charge such a paltry amount for those they do charge.”

The provincial government needs to implement full cost recovery for water taking in Ontario. Companies that profit off our water should pay for the full cost of taking that water. The GPO is also calling on the government to reform the water taking permit process. Ontario must strengthen water protection, which the ECO report also cited as a concern.

“The Dolime quarry, which threatens 25% of Guelph’s drinking water, is only one example of the flawed water taking process,” says Schreiner. “Water taking permits need to include long term management and monitoring programs. Municipal water use and agriculture should be prioritized over industrial use of water.”

The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.