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City to regulate donation boxes

donation boxes

Parties looking to place donation boxes in the City of Oshawa on private property will now be required to receive permission from the owner.

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Parties looking to place donation boxes in the City of Oshawa will now be required to obtain a property owner’s consent before doing so.

Earlier this year, the city’s corporate services committee directed staff to study the placement, use and regulation of donation boxes within the city.

This came on the heels of a well-publicized case of a Toronto woman dying after getting stuck in a clothing donation box.  Council passed a recommendation to have the city regulate boxes placed on private property.

Staff looked to see if other municipalities in Durham Region had regulations specific to donation boxes

Ajax has a “clean community” by-law which prohibits the depositing of debris, and also regulates the placement and maintenance of donation boxes, as does Pickering and Uxbridge. Scugog Township uses a licensing system to oversee these boxes.

Clarington, Brock, and Whitby do not have specific regulations.

According to the staff report, as of early October, there have been no complaints regarding donation boxes so far in 2019.

However, there were six in 2018, and 34 overall between 2014 and last year.

Currently, when boxes are placed on municipal property without permission, they are removed and disposed of at the city’s expense.

Previously the city did not regulate the placement of boxes on private property without consent, as it is considered a civil matter. However, when complaints are received from private landowners, municipal law enforcement officers will investigate under Oshawa’s lot maintenance by-law.

Operators of the boxes may face penalties of $125 per day, and remedial work may be carried out by the city on behalf of the property owner if orders are not complied with.

The city also doesn’t currently regulate which operators are allowed to place boxes in the city.

It is suggested in the report any increases to staff time by changing the by-law would be nominal.

“Based on complaint history, it is anticipated that these costs would be minimal and can be accommodated in the existing operating budget,” the report reads.