Webinar on Alberta’s EPR Transition – Advice from Small Municipalities Across Canada

Monday, April 24, 2023 from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm

Presented in partnership with Alberta Municipalities and Rural Municipalities of Alberta

Watch the recording:

Alberta’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulation came into effect on November 30, 2022 and set out the next steps and timelines for producers to manage materials in the single-use products, packaging and printed paper products (PPP) and hazardous and special products (HSP) categories. While this change is welcome, there are still many areas for stakeholders from across the value chain to navigate in the transition. Municipal staff and elected officials across Alberta have questions about service contracts and infrastructure; where to start and what comes next. And smaller municipalities have unique questions and concerns related to issues like rural depots and staffing requirements. In a webinar on April 24 from 12:30-2:00pm, the RCA brought together a panel of small and rural municipalities from across the Country who have lived through the transition to EPR. Our guests shared advice to help navigate future changes with helpful information on how to prepare and what to expect. 

Moderator: Leah Seabrook, Strathcona County


  • Ben Van Nostrand, Columbia Shuswap Regional District
  • Laura Zapotichny, Regional District of Fraser Fort George
  • John Watson, Municipality of Dysart et al
  • Laura Barrett, Simcoe County
  • Melissa Kovacs Reid, County of Dufferin
  • David McKenna, Alberta Environment and Protected Areas

Leah Seabrook is a passionate and professional environmental leader with extensive experience in managing community waste reduction programs. With over 20 years of service in the public sector, she helped kick-start Strathcona County’s Green Routine waste collection program and more recently led the community through the development of a new Waste Management Roadmap, which outlines a collective, community-wide commitment to rethinking waste and diverting more from landfill. With Extended Producer Responsibility moving forward in Alberta, Leah is keen to stay connected with municipalities through this transition.   

Ben Van Nostrand is a Professional Agrologist, with a technical Diploma in Water Quality Technology, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning and over 25 years of experience in solid waste and recycling management. After spending 14 years with the Ministry of Environment, regulating waste management issues in Northern BC and contributing to policy work in Victoria, he transitioned to the challenges of local government in 2010. As the Manager of Environmental Health Services at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Ben is responsible for solid waste, recycling and environmental programming. Ben is an avid fly fisherman, part-time golfer, goalie in a men’s hockey league and has 3 boys aged 14, 12 and 8 that make life busy.

Laura Zapotichny began her career with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George in the late 1990s, working at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill in Prince George British Columbia. After a brief stint on the east coast, she returned to Prince George and got serious about solid waste, becoming a supervisor at the landfill for a decade, before moving to an office job to pursue waste diversion goals and initiatives.

Laura spent five years as the Manger of Waste Diversion Programs for the RDFFG, moving ICI PPP diversion and DLC diversion ahead in the Regional District, before recently stepping in as the Acting General Manager of Environmental Services for the RDFFG.

She continues to be passionate about waste diversion but maintains that if someone can produce it and sell it, they should be able to recover it! Advocacy for remote and rural residents remains a passion of hers, as does policy that ‘makes sense.’

John Watson is the Environmental Manager for the Municipality of Dysart et al, in the Haliburton Highlands. A typical day includes managing waste diversion programs, picking up illegal dumping, scheduling bin pickups, developing promotion and education materials, and cleaning port-a-potties. Previously he worked for ReCollect Systems where he implemented waste management web and mobile apps for municipalities across North America, and he worked for Halton Region where he developed waste diversion communications and outreach programs.

Laura Barrett is the Manager of Waste Collections at the County of Simcoe. Her current role sees her manage waste collection contracts, promotion and education, waste policies and EPR. In her previous role as Technical Compliance Supervisor, Laura worked on the facilities side of the department, overseeing all environmental compliance for County landfill sites and administering contracts for various diversion programs including household hazardous waste depots. During her 15 years of service in various roles at the County, she has helped to implement innovative waste programs, capital projects and award-winning campaigns. She has watched the County overcome challenges and come out as leaders in waste diversion. Laura is motivated by teamwork and her family. She has a busy family life with 3 young sons who ski, play baseball and love her baking.

Melissa Kovacs Reid is the Manager of Waste Services at the County of Dufferin, where she has been on staff since 2000. She earned her Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo, and began her waste management career at the Region of Peel with their Waste Program Planning team. Melissa is the Past Chair of the Municipal Waste Association, and sits on the M3RC (Municipal Resource, Recovery and Research Collaborative). She loves paddleboarding and tries to keep up with her two ski-loving kids.

Currently David McKenna is the Director of the Waste Policy Section, Water and Waste Policy Branch, Policy Division with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas. He has been employed with the Government of Alberta for 23 years, having served in a number of different Director roles during that time. He is a Registered Professional Biologist and holds a BA in Environmental Geography and BSc in Animal Behaviour, both from the University of Western Ontario. He has worked across Canada and has the spent time doing research on all three of Canada’s oceans.
He has been married for 39 years. He and his wife have 3 adult children including 2 islanders, 1 daughter born on Vancouver Island and their son born on Prince Edward Island, all now living in St. Albert. He is an avid outdoorsmen enjoying hunting, fishing and shooting sports. His vacations are spent in the mountains fishing Maligne Lake in the spring and summer or in the fall you can often find him in a blind in a pea field hunting ducks and geese or in a tree stand with his bow.