Ontario Passes New Waste-Free Ontario Act

Connector Spring 2016

On June 1, 2016, Ontario passed the Waste-Free Ontario Act that will:

  • encourage innovation in recycling processes and require producers to take full responsibility for their products and packaging
  • lower recycling costs and give consumers access to more convenient recycling options
  • help fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas pollution that results from the landfilling of products that could otherwise be recycled or composted
  • overhaul Waste Diversion Ontario into the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, a strong oversight body with new compliance and enforcement powers that will oversee the new approach and existing waste diversion programs until transition is complete.

The province will also be finalizing its draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy within three months of the legislation coming into effect. The strategy outlines Ontario’s vision for a zero waste future and proposed plan to implement the legislation.

Harnessing the value of waste as a resource is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.


  • Every 1,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill generates seven full-time jobs, $360,000 in wages (paying above the provincial average) and $711,000 in GDP.
  • Every year in Canada, an estimated $1 billion in valuable resources is lost to landfill.
  • Eventually the Waste-Free Ontario Act will eliminate industry funding organizations such as the Ontario Tire Stewardship and Ontario Electronic Stewardship.
  • The Blue Box program is available in about 95 per cent of Ontario households and keeps approximately 65 per cent of residential printed paper and packaging from landfills.


Source: Government of Ontario