September 12, 2018

In November 2016, the Waste Diversion Act was repealed and replaced by the Waste-Free Ontario Act, which includes both the Waste Diversion Transition Act and the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA).

The new legislation has started the movement toward full producer responsibility, but it is just the first step towards a circular economy. Regulations must be drafted and all the details of the new system must be resolved.

To prepare for this move, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), Municipal Waste Association (MWA), Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario (RPWCO), and the City of Toronto joined forces to form the Municipal Resource Recovery and Research Collaborative (Municipal 3Rs Collaborative).

The purpose of the Municipal 3Rs Collaborative is to develop and promote policies and programs on behalf of all municipalities in Ontario to support the transition to a circular economy. We understand that this transition is critical to protect our environment and support economic growth. It is our view that it is equally important that producer-led programs provide reliable, convenient services to customers and deliver strong environmental outcomes.  

Municipal 3Rs Collaborative does not usurp or replace the autonomy of individual municipalities, but provides advice and recommendations to staff and municipal councils for consideration and action.

Based on concerns raised by stakeholders during the consultation on the draft amended Blue Box Program Plan (a-BBPP) released Dec 19, 2017, Stewardship Ontario did not submit an a-BBPP to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority.

Stewardship Ontario’s official announcement can be found here.

The Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority also offered a statement here.

Discussions are underway between stakeholders determine how work on the amended BBPP should continue. Letters exchanged between the parties can be found here:
  The Municipal 3Rs Collaborative has continued to work on transitioning the Blue Box to full producer responsibility:
 
  • Several meetings with Stewardship Ontario to discuss transition have taken place, focussing on trying to mutually define a standard service level;
  • Extensive case study research has been conducted across Canada, the European Union and other jurisdictions on EPR best practices and engagement with municipal government representatives in these jurisdictions; and,
  • A regulatory framework for Blue Box under the RRCEA is being developed.
At our 2018 conference, the Honourable Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks was asked about transition timing for the Blue Box program. In response, the Minister said that “municipal leaders have been exceptionally clear about their preferences on the issue…but that producers and municipalities seem to be a distance apart.” He said that they would be addressing the transition timing in the near term, in consultation with municipalities through AMO.

We continue to work with the government and other stakeholders to transition the Blue Box to full producer responsibility in a timely manner.