Auditor general finds governance of provincial solid waste commission good but management could be improved04 December 2012
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Auditor general Kim MacPherson looked at governance and oversight of New Brunswick solid waste commissions in her latest report, released today. In her report, she noted, “Solid waste commissions provide a service that is used by every taxpayer in New Brunswick and is critical to the environment of the province.”
MacPherson concluded that, in general, governance and oversight structures and processes for solid waste commissions were adequate and functioning as documented in provincial legislation.
“I was generally pleased with the quality of governance that has been provided by the various commission boards around the province, and with the administrative oversight of regional solid waste commissions provided by the Department of Environment and Local Government,” she said.
However, she also included a number of findings and 13 recommendations in her report, addressing various aspects of provincial solid waste management. Many of her recommendations were directed towards the department, although some were aimed at the 12 commissions.
She noted a lack of accountability information on most commission websites that would allow the public to assess their performance. She recommended commissions enhance their websites to include financial statements, annual reports, board membership and other accountability information.
In her report, MacPherson recognized the upcoming structural changes to regional service delivery in the province. Effective Jan. 1, 2013, existing solid waste commission boards will be dissolved and replaced by regional service commission boards. Consequently, she has recommended good governance practices that each new regional service commission board should adopt.
MacPherson also identified several areas associated with provincial solid waste management in which the province has an important role to play in improving environmental performance. In particular, she commented on three extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs for used oil, glycol, and e-waste that have been developed by the department but not yet approved or implemented by the provincial government. She noted departmental representatives, commissions, and stakeholders agreed that EPR programs have the most potential to reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills in the future, and recommended that these three programs be approved and implemented, and that additional EPR programs be developed.
She noted that individual commissions have each prepared regional waste diversion plans. However, MacPherson recommended the department ensure that each commission set challenging diversion goals and report on their performance in achieving those goals.
MacPherson was also concerned about the amount of illegal dumping reported in the province.
“Given the significant environmental risks and financial costs associated with it, we recommend the department enhance its capabilities in identifying and prosecuting those who carry out illegal dumping,” she said.
Today's report contains two volumes; Volume I focuses on matters arising from the annual financial audit of the province and Crown agencies. Volume II reports the results of Value for Money projects completed during 2012. Both volumes are available on the Office of the Auditor General website.
● Office of the Auditor General