Important Changes To Ontario's Waste Diverson Programs Announced

Author:Mr David Crocker and Sarah Robicheau
Profession:Davis LLP

On February 9, 2012, the Ministry of the Environment (the "Ministry") announced a number of changes relating to the Waste Diversion Act (the "Act"). These changes include regulatory amendments to government administered programs, proposed changes to the governance structure of Waste Diversion Ontario ("WDO") and several review and reporting directives to WDO with respect to Stewardship Ontario, Industry Funding Organizations ("IFOs"), Industry Stewardship Plans ("ISPs"), and Incentive Programs.

It is the Ministry's announced hope that these changes will contribute to:

Ensuring Ontario's waste diversion targets are met; Protecting the interests of consumers; Establishing clear, consistent guidelines for business to help divert the maximum amount of waste; Protecting municipalities from the burden of additional waste diversion costs; and Helping retailers understand their role and take responsibility for fair and accurate pricing. Ontario's waste diversion system encompasses a number of regulated programs which establish and implement proper procedures for handling products that are ready for recycling or final disposal. The ultimate goal of these programs is to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills and to ensure that hazardous wastes are handled in a manner that protects the environment. Their guiding principle is that the companies which originally produce or import products into Ontario (the "Stewards") should have 'cradle to grave responsibility'.

WDO is a not-for-profit, non-crown corporation created under the Act to develop, implement and oversee waste diversion programs, as explained above, in Ontario. IFOs are designated by WDO and are responsible for specific program development and delivery. There are currently three IFOs, including Stewardship Ontario, operating four waste diversion programs.

Changes to Regulation 542/06

Last week's announcements included amendments to Ontario Regulation 542/06 (Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste) ("Reg. 542"). These amendments affect the Stewards of Municipal Hazardous Waste and Municipal Special Waste, which includes such waste as certain flammable, corrosive or toxic products, batteries, pharmaceuticals, and light bulbs or tubes, among other products.

Reg. 542 establishes the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program (the "MHSWP"), which requires companies that generate certain types of waste: register and pay funds ("Stewardship Fees") to designated IFOs, such as...

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