|David Traves, president of the Etobicoke Masonic Temple|
(Photo by Mike Smee/CBC)
Authentic charitable bins have to be registered with the city. The phone number on the bogus bins connects to an anonymous answering message saying merely that donated items are "diverted from landfills and supporting local jobs." They are usually installed on or near properties like the Masonic temple or churches to make it appear that they are sponsored by those benevolent, charitable organizations. But they are not.
Used clothing is a booming export business, and authorities report more than 200 of these illegal, cheap wooden boxes have appeared all over their city over the last 18 months to con citizens. The clothes get collected and processed by illegal operations that ship them overseas for pure profit.
Before the city realized it was a scam, the Masons were issued citations and threatened with fines on at least four occasions when the illegal boxes began appearing. Temple managers say paying staff to have them removed, disassembled and trucked away has cost them "a few thousand" dollars.
According to the CBC article, Carleton Grant, head of municipal licensing and standards for Etobicoke, says the city is finalizing a new strategy to curb the illegal clothing collection trade. He says his department is planning to work with transportation staff to identify, pick up and dispose of the unregistered donation boxes.
City officials have at least stopped issuing citations to the Masons. Still, the city will charge property owners a fee for the removal service.
The Etobicoke Masonic Temple is home to Rehoboam Lodge 65, Georgina 343, Mimico 369, Trilium 575, Astra Mount Dennis 599, Maple Leaf 600, Unity 606, Kingsway 655, Sunnylea 664, and Bridgewood 713, plus numerous appendant bodies.