Canada: Ontario Introduces Waste Reduction Strategy And Proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013

In June 2013, the Ontario government released its Waste Reduction Strategy, which incorporates the proposed new Waste Reduction Act, 2013, forecasting significant changes to the way wastes will be managed in Ontario. If passed, this Act will affect households, businesses and municipalities.


Ontario first began its waste-diversion efforts through the Blue Box programs in the late 1980s. Later, the Ontario government enacted the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 (the WDA) to develop and operate various waste-reduction and waste-diversion programs (including the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Program and the Used Tires Program). However, according to the current government, the initiatives under the WDA have stalled (the government points out that only 25% of the roughly 12 million tonnes of waste generated in Ontario every year is diverted from landfills). In addition to dwindling capacity at municipal landfills and increasing waste-diversion costs borne by municipalities, waste-diversion programs enacted under the WDA faced cost overruns, compliance and enforcement issues and possible consumer confusion over "eco fees." The Ontario government determined that a major legislative overhaul was necessary. In June 2013, it released a Waste Reduction Strategy and submitted Bill 91, the Waste Reduction Act, 2013 (the Act) for first reading on June 6. The proposed approach appears designed, at least in part, to avoid some of the political issues (particularly regarding the addition of eco-fees to the costs of certain products at the cash register) that have arisen under the current approach.

Significant Proposed Changes Under the Waste Reduction Strategy and Waste Reduction Act, 2013

  1. Individual producer responsibility (IPR). IPR is a policy strategy emphasizing producers' responsibility for the end-of-life costs associated with their products and packaging. The ultimate goal of the strategy is to encourage producers to make their products more easily recyclable. Additionally, IPR forces producers to internalize the costs of product disposal that would otherwise be borne by municipalities (and, ultimately, taxpayers) and, through such internalization, avoid the possibility that the eco fees added to the consumers' cost could be characterized as taxes. The proposed Act emphasizes IPR by making producers directly responsible for meeting recycling requirements imposed by statute and regulations. More specifically, producers (of specific wastes as designated by regulations under the Act) would face heightened registration and reporting obligations under the Act and would be responsible for meeting recycling requirements either individually or through an intermediary (such as an industry association).
  2. More compliance "teeth." Under the Act, Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO), the government agency tasked with implementing the waste diversion, would be transformed into the Waste Reduction Authority (WRA). The proposed Act would provide significant enforcement and oversight powers to the WRA, including the ability to conduct inspections, issue compliance orders and levy administrative penalties against producers and intermediaries. The WRA would also be responsible for maintaining a registry established by the Act for producers and intermediaries to report on waste amounts and compliance with the Act.
  3. Integrated pricing of "environmental protection costs." The proposed Act would require waste-diversion costs to be integrated into the overall price of the product so that producers could not add an eco fee on top of their advertised product prices. The Act would require the "all-in" price to be more prominent than any other amounts referred to. Environmental protection costs can be disclosed, but they must be clearly and accurately described. It would be an offence under the proposed Act to make a false, misleading or deceptive representation relating to a recovered environmental protection cost.
  4. Increase in producer contributions to the Blue Box recycling program. The proposed Act would increase producers' responsibilities to municipalities by requiring producers to collect designated wastes from municipalities or to reimburse municipalities for certain costs associated with collecting, handling, transporting, storing, processing and disposing of those designated wastes.
  5. Increased waste diversion efforts aimed at the industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) sectors. New regulations are contemplated that are aimed at collecting recyclable waste from the IC&I sector (e.g., office buildings, malls, restaurants, hotels, educational institutions, hospitals, factories). The Waste Reduction Strategy suggests that designating paper and packaging supplied to the IC&I sector for waste diversion is "the largest single unaddressed recycling opportunity in the province." Additionally, Ontario intends to develop and implement new standards for diverting end-of-life vehicle (ELV) waste from landfills.
  6. Transition and phasing in. Both the Waste Reduction Strategy and the proposed Act anticipate a phased-in approach with extensive consultation with stakeholders. The Strategy and Act contemplate that the WRA will take the lead in ensuring an effective transition. It is further expected that industry-funded organizations under the WDA (e.g., Stewardship Ontario under the MHSW program) would be wound down as responsibility for waste diversion falls directly on producers through the IPR approach.


If passed, the Waste Reduction Act, 2013 will usher in major changes that will affect businesses in Ontario, including the following:

  1. Increased enforcement. Producers may be subject to a more robust regulatory regime under the proposed Act and will be at risk of sanctions, including compliance orders, administrative penalties and fines, for non-compliance. The Act as drafted contemplates that administrative penalties will be issued on an absolute liability basis, meaning that the due diligence defence would not apply. However, the new "teeth" provided to the WRA may be welcome news for some businesses (e.g., stewards) that have complied with existing waste-management programs and have been competing against non-compliant businesses on price.
  2. No more eco-fees. Producers may need to take particular care when announcing product pricing because "advertising" a product's price includes not only announcements to the general public but "invoices, receipts and similar records." The proposed Act would require producers to include any "recovered environmental cost" in the all-in price of the product itself and, as outlined above, this inclusive price must be more prominent than any other amount listed on that advertisement. Making a false, misleading or deceptive representation regarding recovered environmental costs could result in significant financial penalties upon conviction. This measure appears intended to discourage producers and retailers from specifying the costs attributable to end-of-life recycling costs.
  3. Harmonization, nationalization of approach. A shift towards IPR would bring Ontario more in line with the European Union and other Canadian provinces (notably, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec1). This increased harmonization may be beneficial for producers with operations across Canada that are faced with different regimes and reporting/remitting obligations.
  4. Paper and packaging recycling to dramatically increase. If, as expected, the IC&I sector is targeted for new recycling obligations for paper and packaging, countless businesses may need to make changes to implement more robust recycling practices. In addition, the waste-recycling services sector can expect a big increase in business as IC&I waste represents almost 60% of the waste generated in Ontario. According to the Waste Reduction Strategy, only 13% of this IC&I waste is being recycled under the current regime.
  5. Phased-in approach for transition. The government anticipates a phased-in approach to transitioning existing programs. The first program expected to transition to full IPR is the WEEE Program. That transition is expected to occur within one to two years, with the MHSW Program slated to begin its transition to full IPR within two to four years. In the longer term (four years and beyond), the Used Tire Program would transition to full IPR.
  6. Consultations. The phased-in approach also contemplates extensive stakeholder consultation as part of each phase. According to the Waste Reduction Strategy, there will be consultations on the recycling of IC&I paper and packaging waste, recycling standards for ELVs, the designation of additional wastes under the Act and the implementation of disposal bans for certain eligible wastes. The stated purpose of these consultations is to allow stakeholders to prepare adequately for, and participate in, the transition process to a new program. Producers and recyclers in particular may wish to consider the implications of the Waste Reduction Strategy and proposed Act as soon as possible to permit meaningful input to the Ontario government and the WDO/WDA.


1. EPR Canada, a not-for-profit association dedicated to encouraging extended producer responsibility (EPR), gave British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec the highest "marks" for EPR programs, with BC given an "A-" and the rest "B-" in 2011. Ontario was given a "C+". For further details, click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.