January 16, 2020
The Ontario Government is proposing to raise the fees it charges to water bottling companies for the use of groundwater.
Ontario currently charges $3.71 for every million litres of water drawn for all water-taking permits. The Government is proposing to increase that fee to $503.71 per million litres for water bottling companies who use groundwater.
Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott is questioning where the extra revenue is going.
“No one is objecting to an increase in the fees that water bottling companies pay to the Provincial Government. But where is the money going?” he asked. “How much revenue will the new fee bring in? Will it go into a dedicated fund for water protection, or are we just supposed to trust them?”
Mr. Arnott has been monitoring the issue closely and has argued that any increase in the fee charged for taking water should be shared with the municipalities affected.
“Since last August, I’ve been saying that the Government should commit to substantially share any fee increases with the affected local municipalities,” Mr. Arnott said. “Our local municipalities are impacted by extensive reporting requirements and an increase in trucks on our local roads. If the Government is unwilling to share the new revenue it raises, people will rightly conclude that this is just another cash grab.”
The proposal has been posted to Ontario’s Environmental Registry for 60 days of public comment.
In October, the Government announced a two year moratorium on the approval of new or expanded water taking permits for water bottling companies.