Saturday, May 24, 2014

Small Business and MMBC

Dear Saanich South,

As many of you know, I am the Official Opposition Critic for Small Business, Tourism and Arts and Culture.

With respect to Small Business, one issue I have worked hard on is the impact of a ‘red-tape monster’, Multi-Materials BC (MMBC).

MMBC is a registered BC Non-Profit Society that has been given power by the Ministry of Environment to demand over $100 annually from businesses and take over the BC residential recycling sector.

For a balanced analysis of MMBC, see this article by Don Cayo in the Vancouver Sun.

Over the past few months I’ve raised many objections to this program, both within the Legislature and in meetings and correspondence with constituents, business-people, Chambers of Commerce, municipalities, MMBC, and the Auditor General of BC. [See here, and here.]

I’m pleased to note that the government has at last responded to one of the objections raised by myself and others, namely the excessive red-tape and financial burden MMBC would place on small business in BC.

Yesterday, the government finalized changes to the recycling regulations to exempt small producers of packing and printed paper (PPP). An exemption is granted if any one of the following four criteria is met:
  • Under one million dollars in annual revenues.
  • Under one tonne of packaging and printed paper supplied to B.C. residents.
  • Operate as a single point of retail sale and are not supplied by or operated as part of franchise or chain
  • Is a registered charity.
According to the BC government, these changes will exempt 99% of businesses in BC from MMBC.

In addition, medium-sized businesses which are not exempt but are still low-volume producers of PPP can now pay an annual fee instead of assuming the cost of detailed PPP accounting and cyclical reporting.

Although these changes are incomplete – many small businesses in BC will still be hit with excessive MMBC red-tape and exorbitant fees collected by an organization which is not financially accountable to the provincial government – they do improve a profoundly flawed system. This change is a great relief to many small businesses. 

I will continue to work on this file. There is much more to be done to ensure that BC has a regulatory residential recycling system in place that includes accountability mechanisms for funds collected through the authority of the government, encourages BC businesses, and protects the environment.