Emterra files $67M breach of contract suit against Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Emterra Environmental has filed a lawsuit against the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, seeking $67 million for what it claims is a breach of contract, reports the CBC. In the suit, the company claims the city provided incomplete data about households, purchased faulty carts that did not hold up in extreme temperatures, changed the contract without notice and unfairly assessed penalties on the company.
- The suit claims faulty information and maps provided by the city cost Emterra $12.1 million, the city failed to ensure every household received garbage and recycling carts, and didn't keep track of the carts electronically.
- Emterra served as one of the Manitoba capital’s waste haulers from August 2012 through 2017. During this time, city officials complained about the company publicly. Currently, the city is served by GFL Environmental and Miller Waste Systems under seven-year, $251 million contracts.
Emterra began handling the city’s waste and recycling collection along with Progressive Waste Service in 2012, which coincided with a new collection system being put in place. Two years later, the company issued a press release touting its success despite the new collection system.
According to local media accounts, Emterra soon faced criticism, as its relationship with Winnipeg deteriorated. However, it’s hard to pinpoint who is at fault.
In 2014, Winnipeg city councilors blamed the company after a report showed that 16,295 homes were skipped during collection, according to the CBC. However, the CBC cited data revealed a thousand of those missed pick-ups were not Emterra’s fault.
The city now positions itself to avoid a similar situation. The new contracts will split the work more evenly between Miller Waste Systems and GFL Environmental. Brian Mayes, city council water and waste chairman, said having two companies under contract will alleviate future equipment problems, labor shortages or other issues that may arise. The new arrangement will also cost the city more at $24.8 million per year compared to the city’s previous cost of $18.2 million.