Ontario has announced the next steps in its Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to reduce plastic pollution and litter by transitioning recycling costs in the familiar Blue Box Program away from municipal taxpayers to producers of products and packaging. The Province's end goal is to make producers responsible for the end-of-life management of their products. Additional benefits of this plan include promoting innovation in recycling technologies and increasing Ontario's overall recycling rates.

The next year will be spent developing and consulting on new regulations to support the producer responsibility framework, which will occur in phases over a three-year period starting on January 1, 2023 with producers becoming fully responsible by the end of 2025.

This phased approach is intended to allow time for proper consultation with municipal and industry stakeholders, Indigenous communities and the general public. It also provides time for manufacturers to plan ahead and begin investing in new recycling technologies for their operations.

While the Blue Box Program will remain at least consistent, if not improved, for consumers throughout the transition period, this is a wake up call for producers to start planning ahead as the cost of manufacturing and using plastics is on the rise in Ontario.

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

© McMillan LLP 2019