Government of Ontario Announces New Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery Legislation

Connector Winter 2016

waste-free-ontario-DRAFT-coverLate 2015, the Government of Ontario introduced a new waste reduction and resource recovery strategy that could put the province at the forefront of environmental protection and resource conservation.

The Recycling Council of Ontario says this is long overdue and critical to improving Ontario’s environment and economy. According to Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario:

For more than a decade Recycling Council of Ontario has been advocating for change in waste legislation, and we are pleased the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is going to making good on its commitment to address the waste issues that plague Ontario. We need a policy shift that marries the economic and environmental benefits of reducing materials lost to disposal and redirecting them into the production of new goods.

If passed, Bill 151, the proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act will enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and the Waste Diversion Transition Act. The proposed legislation is intended to enable a shift to a circular economy that would increase resource recovery and waste reduction in Ontario.

Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act highlights:

  • Establish the provincial interest in resource recovery and waste reduction and enable the government to issue policy statements to provide further direction on the provincial interest. The policy statements would be developed in consultation with key stakeholders and the public.
  • Establish a new outcomes-based producer responsibility regime that holds responsible persons accountable for recovering resources and reducing waste associated with their products and packaging.
  • Overhaul Waste Diversion Ontario, the existing oversight body under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002, as the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority with responsibility to oversee the new producer responsibility regime and existing waste diversion programs and their transition.
  • Establish the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy, which will outline a vision and goals for resource recovery and waste reduction and identify actions under the proposed Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and other acts, e.g. the Environmental Protection Act.

Waste Diversion Transition Act highlights

  • Replace the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 to enable the smooth transition of existing programs to the new producer responsibility regime.
  • Allow for the wind-up of the existing waste diversion programs and the Industry Funding Organizations (IFO) that operate these programs. Once programs and IFOs under the proposed Waste Diversion Transition Act are wound up, the Act would be repealed.

Draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy objectives:

  • Increase Resource Productivity and Reduce Waste
  • Enable an Efficient and Effective Recycling System
  • Create Conditions to Support Sustainable End-Markets

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change posted these items to the Environmental Registry for 90-day review and comment period.

Links

EBR Registry Number: 012-5834: Draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy

EBR Registry Number: 012-5832: Waste-Free Ontario Act

Source: Recycling Council of Ontario