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The Doug Ford government and Nestle bottled-water takings in Ontario

Premier-elect Doug Ford

What will Ontario’s new PC government under Doug Ford do with respect to Nestle bottled-water takings?

Nestle’s permit to take 3.6 million litres of water a day in Aberfoyle expired on July 31, 2016, while its permit to take 1.1 million litres a day in Hillsburgh expired on August 31, 2017. Furthermore, the provincial government’s two-year pause on Nestle’s plan to extract 1.6 million litres of water a day from Middlebrook is set to end on January 1, 2019.

Decisions on renewing these expired permits, following his swearing into office on June 29, will fall to Premier Doug Ford’s government.

At some point in the near future, we can expect to see Nestle’s water taking permit applications for Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario’s website. The Council of Canadians is deeply concerned that the Ford government will approve both permits.

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford does not appear to have issued a policy statement on the issue of bottled-water takings, but the Toronto Star has previously reported that clients of the Ford family firm, Deco Labels & Tags, includes Nestlé Canada Inc., Coca-Cola, Cara Operations and Porter Airlines.

In August 2014, The Globe and Mail reported, “Nestlé Canada, which says it has done about $20,000 worth of business with Deco since 2007, got involved in the [City of Toronto’s] bottle-ban debate after [Doug Ford’s brother Rob] Ford became mayor. On Nov. 26, 2012, a lobbyist acting for Nestlé Waters Canada – a division of Nestlé Canada – met with a member of Mayor Ford’s staff to discuss the bylaw, Toronto’s lobbyist registry indicates. A Nestle Waters official met with the Ford administration three times that year to discuss ‘recycling and diversion of beverage containers from waste, including bottled water’.”

The Council of Canadians will continue to work with local communities to oppose Nestle bottled-water takings.