On November 26, 2015, Ontario's Ministry of the
Environment and Climate Change ("MOECC") posted the
proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act to the Environmental
Registry (EBR #012-5832) for public comment. The proposed Act is
omnibus legislation that, if passed by the Ontario Legislature,
would enact The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act
and the Waste Diversion Transition Act. This newly
proposed waste reduction regime would replace the existing waste
diversion programs operated under the Waste Diversion
Act, 2002. The Waste-Free Ontario Act
endeavours to move Ontario towards a circular economy that
increases resource recovery and facilitates waste reduction. The
legal implications of the proposed regime include, among other
things, holding individual producers legally responsible for
achieving resource recovery and waste reduction requirements. The
public comment period ends on February 24, 2016.
Waste-Free Ontario Act
The proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act marks a significant
shift in how the province is thinking about waste. The
Waste-Free Ontario Act is omnibus legislation that is
intended to support Ontario's move towards a circular economy.
The proposed regime is expected to facilitate waste reduction,
increase resource productivity, enable efficient and effective
collection and recycling systems, and increase the market value of
recovered materials. The Waste-Free Ontario Act would
enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and
the Waste Diversion Transition Act.
The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act
allow the government to issue policy statements to provide
direction on resource recovery and waste reduction. These policy
statements would be developed in consultation with the public and
place a heavy burden on producers to recover and reduce the
waste associated with their products. The Resource Productivity
Recovery Authority would replace Waste Diversion Ontario and be
responsible for overseeing enforcement and compliance under the new
producer responsibility regime.
identify producers as "responsible persons" and
enforce specific obligations to be met by responsible persons to
reduce and recover waste. Responsible persons would be given
flexibility in determining how to best meet their obligations to
reduce and recover waste.
establish a Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario to help the
province transition to zero waste and zero greenhouse gas emissions
from waste. The "Draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario:
Building the Circular Economy" was also posted on November 26,
2015 to the Environmental Registry for public comment (EBR
#012-5834). The Draft Strategy is multi-faceted and focusses on
such things as facilitating collaboration to make recycling more
economically viable through the development of markets for
recovered and recycled materials. Comments on the Draft Strategy
are also due on February 24, 2016.
The Waste Diversion Transition Act would:
replace the Waste Diversion Act, 2002
facilitate the transition of existing programs, such as the
blue box program, to the new producer responsibility regime
enable the wind-up of existing waste diversion programs and
Industry Funding Organizations ("IFOs") that operate
these waste diversion programs
be repealed once the programs and IFOs are successfully
Under the proposed new waste reduction regime individual
producers would be held legally responsible for achieving resource
recovery and waste reduction requirements. Producers would be
required to show compliance by reporting data to the proposed
Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority.
The Authority would replace Waste Diversion Ontario and provide
independent oversight of producer requirements, operate a data
clearinghouse, and undertake a compliance and enforcement role. The
Authority's compliance and enforcement tools could include the
power to conduct inspections and to issue compliance orders and
By placing a heavier burden on producers, the province believes
that the proposed legislation would foster innovation and encourage
the production of more resilient, reusable, and recyclable
The MOECC is seeking input from stakeholders and the public on
the proposed legislation and the Draft Strategy. The public comment
period on both the Waste-Free Ontario Act and the Draft
Strategy is open until February 24, 2016.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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