At its last meeting, CIF Committee approved the CIF 2021 Interim Operation Plan, which balances directives from the Ministry with the priorities established by CIF stakeholders to focus on efforts that support collective benefits and that emphasize the current mandate as found in the BBPP. As the Province prepares to begin transitioning the Blue Box Program in 2023, and in accordance with CIF’s priorities, the 2021 Interim Operations Plan will invest up to $1,520,000 to:
- continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the existing program at a collective level;
- prepare municipalities for program transition;
- aid in stabilizing sustainable markets for Ontario’s Blue Box materials; and
- aid municipalities with day-to-day decision making and longer-term planning.
Collective benefit continues to be priority in 2021
The 2021 Interim Operations Plan offers funding for activities designed to provide a collective benefit to municipalities across the Province. Individual programs and their operators will continue to receive program support services and guidance for operational needs through the Centre of Excellence (CofE).
Transitional Support Initiatives will include:
- Collection and processing research
- Collection and processing pilots
- Performance analytics and better practices promotion
- Waste composition studies (pending SO’s participation)
Program Support Services, will continue to include:
- Procurement and contract management support
- Outreach services (e.g., ORW, Outreach Sessions, Working Groups, CIF Price Sheet)
- Training initiatives
A shift from the annual REOI
This year the CIF will shift away from its usual project funding approach and will not issue an annual Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI).
The majority of the 2021 transitional support initiatives will be led by the CIF. Projects will be developed through consultation with strategic municipal group partnerships, such as the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario’s Waste Subcommittee and with AMO’s Municipal Resource Recovery and Research Collaborative (M3RC). The CIF-led projects will be supported by municipal steering committees, where appropriate. These municipal project partners will help launch initiatives by assisting with the finalization of the scopes of work and selection of consultants. The steering committees will then remain engaged throughout the entire project. This approach will ensure the work has broad strategic value, addressing the most pressing issues faced by blue box program operators Province-wide in the lead up to, during and post transition.
The process for managing waste composition studies and program support services will remain unchanged.
Grants to individual municipalities will end September 30, 2021
As noted in the current CIF Strategic Plan, stakeholders sought a focus on efforts that support collective benefits rather than on continued funding of individual municipal initiatives. The CIF’s 2021 Interim Operations Plan integrates the current desires of stakeholders that the provision of grants to individual municipalities no longer be offered after September 30, 2021.
Again this year, proposals for project funding will be processed on a continuous intake basis and on a ‘first come first served’ basis until the available funds are fully committed or the CIF receives new direction (i.e., the traditional REOI process will not be used). As in 2020, approvals will be sought on a case-by-case basis using existing evaluation criteria and approval processes.
Project completion timelines critical to allow for timely windup of the CIF
CIF-led projects will only be undertaken where the work can be completed by 2023, or such other date that does not impede the timely windup of the CIF. Grants approved for individual municipal-led initiatives will only be considered if the work can be completed by December 31, 2021 2022 (amended to 2022 in the approved Windup Plan), or such other date that does not impede the timely windup of the CIF. The timelines for waste composition studies are detailed in the 2021 Interim Operations Plan.
This approach will ensure initiatives are implemented without delay, with enough time to achieve the desired outcomes, and in a manner that provides flexibility to adapt to any unforeseen changes that may occur during the operating year.