Solid Waste Resources business service review

About the review

Solid Waste Resources (SWR) is the first City service to undergo a full business service review using the new business service review framework.

The purpose of the SWR business service review is to look at what solid waste services we do well and what, if any, services need to change. We want to make sure the waste services we offer are the most efficient, effective and financially sustainable for our community and the City. 

As part of the SWR business service review, we asked ourselves:

  • What waste services do we currently provide?
  • How do we deliver waste services?
  • What service level do we currently offer?
  • Can we improve the way we deliver waste services?
  • What is the impact to the community and our organization if waste service levels are increased or reduced?
  • Can waste services be delivered in other ways?

Key finding and final recommendations

The includes key findings and eleven recommendations for Guelph’s Solid Waste Resources division along with supporting information and data.

Key findings

  • An extensive range of services is required to provide comprehensive waste services for the Guelph community.
  • The City of Guelph meets or exceeds service levels of the other applicable municipalities in five of six waste service elements included in the scope of the review.
  • Third-party engagement activity indicates that overall satisfaction with all Solid Waste services is 72 per cent.
  • An amended Blue Box Program Plan is underway that requires the producer of the material to be fully responsible to cover all end-of-life costs for waste. Consultation is ongoing to inform a transition plan and determine how this will impact Guelph.


  1. Increase service level for curbside yard waste collection to bi-weekly collection during growing season.
  2. Extend the lifecycle of the waste collection (packer) trucks from seven to ten years to achieve optimal economic life. This will also provide an opportunity for future capital budget reallocation.
  3. Phase in the approved service level increase for waste collection service to multi-residential properties.
  4. Consider alternative levels of service for the Public Drop-off hours of operation to optimize resources and gain efficiencies.
  5. Move forward with the Solid Waste Management Master Plan update in 2018/2019. Ensure the scope of activity includes:
    1. Identify, enhance and/or implement programs to improve diversion rates, optimize customer service and seek cost efficiencies.
    2. Develop a long-term growth forecasting model, in line with the existing Development Charges and Development Priority Planning processes, internal Finance processes and Asset Management policy, to proactively identify growth impacts across all waste service elements.
  6. Continue to optimize processes to enhance waste division performance and employee engagement. Formalize the Blitz team continuous improvement activity and extend the practice across all service elements.
  7. Ensure financial analysis resources and/or skill sets are added to the SWR division, to provide greater accuracy and control in performance measurement and financial management and support improvements as identified in the Deloitte Variance Task Force review.
    1. Conduct a long-term cost recovery study to effectively assess the impact of future revenue changes and analyze potential adjustment scenarios.
  8. Add process engineering and project management capacity to the Solid Waste Resources division to support the recommendations made in this report and lead continuous improvement initiatives, performance measurement development and overall tracking and reporting.
  9. Create a solid waste financial reserve to help offset the volatility of the commodity market and reduce annual variance impacts.
  10. Implement the Simcoe transition strategy to achieve cost savings and efficiency of operations by aligning Material Recovery Facility operations with Guelph tonnage and processing requirements.
  11. Continue to monitor and update Council on the amended Blue Box Program transition timeline and implications of proposed changes.

Waste services that were reviewed

  • Waste collection: Curbside collection, which includes residential, business and commercial collection as well as the Public Waste Drop-off.
  • Waste processing: Organic waste processing, Guelph’s overall recycling process, operations at the material recovery facility, closed landfill operation, transfer station operation and household hazardous waste processing.
  • Material output: sale of waste materials, disposal of waste to landfill and reuse of waste materials.
  • Administration and customer service: customer contact and issue resolution, public education, contract management and enforcement.

Potential outcomes

During the SWR business service review, the City gathered staff feedback, public input and research on Guelph’s current solid waste services as well as best practices from other municipalities to develop recommendations for Council’s consideration. Potential outcomes may include, but are not limited to:

  • No change – we are delivering the right service at the right level.
  • Change service level – we are delivering the right service but should increase or decrease the level of service, which may or may not require additional resources.
  • Change service delivery – we are delivering the right service but should change the way we offer the service, which may or may not require a change to resources.
  • Change service type – we are not offering the right service and need to change it, which may or may not require stopping to offer a service that is not meeting the needs of users or starting a new service.

Service delivery options

The SWR business service review examined two service delivery options:

  • In-house—City of Guelph owns the service and City staff provide the service
  • Out-sourcing—the City owns the service and contracts it out to an external organization

Process credibility and methodology

We are committed to integrity, diligence and transparency during the SWR business service review. As a responsible and objective service provider, the City has no pre-conceived service delivery solution.

The City is working in partnership with Dillon Consulting Limited—an award-winning, impartial, technical expert—to conduct the alternative service delivery assessment and municipal comparator analysis for the SWR business service review. Working with a consultant adds objective third-party credibility to the review results. Dillon Consulting has an in-depth understanding of waste services across Canada and recent experience conducting reviews of municipal solid waste programs and systems for the cities of Toronto, Saskatoon and White Rock, regions of Durham and Halton and the districts of Muskoka and North Vancouver.


The SWR business service review began in January 2017 and will include the following:

  • Discovery phase, including process maps for all SWR processes in the service review (July 2017)
  • Analysis and identification phases, including an alternative service delivery assessment (September 2017)
  • Interim report containing options for service delivery and high level improvements identified to date (September 2017)
  • Final report containing recommendations for a service delivery method and process improvements including budget impacts (presented at May 28, 2018 Council meeting)
  • Implementation report containing implementation and/or transition plans for service review recommendations (timeline to be determined).

Quarterly update reports


For more information about the business service review

Katherine Gray, Program Manager, Business Process Management
Business Process Management Department
519-822-1260 extension 2006

For more information about Solid Waste Resources

Cam Walsh, Plant Manager
Solid Waste Resources
519-822-1260 extension 2053