New leader takes over Ontario’s e-waste program

A new leader has been named to take over Ontario’s troubled e-waste recycling program, which has been stung by critics’ claims of wasting taxpayer dollars itself.

Jonathan Spencer is the new executive director of the OntarioElectronic Stewardship (OES), an arms-length non-profitorganizationset up by the Ontario government in April 2009 to oversee the recoveryof electronic waste in the province. He replaces Carol Hochu, who leftthe top job in January to become president and CEO of the CanadianPlastics Industry Association.

Hochu’s departure followed a string of negative headlines, includingnews in 2010 that the OES had collected only 17,000 tonnes of e-waste,far short of its original launch target of 42,000 tonnes. And in thesummer of 2011 it was revealed the OES was sitting on a $20-millionsurplus, meaning it was still collecting e-waste fees on all electronicgoods bought by consumers in Ontario but apparently not giving any ofthat back in the way of fee discounts.

Spencer comes from a strong finance background: he was most recently asenior project manager in the corporate and commodity tax branch at theOntario finance ministry. Spencer, a chartered accountant, was also aGST and sales tax consultant at Thorsteinssons LLP and worked atPricewaterhouse Cooopers LLP where he focused on the financial andtechnology sectors.

Spencer also has experience in the non-profit sector. He’s a graduateof the Non-Profit Governance program at the Rotman School of Managementin Toronto who “served as a board member of several non-profitorganizations in Ontario with a focus on community and internationaldevelopment,” according to an OES news release.

Spencer was not speaking to media about his new role today but may doso “in a few weeks,” a spokeswoman for the OES told inresponse to an interview request.

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