Canada’s changing EPR landscape

As Canadian EPR legislation undergoes comprehensive changes, Valpak’s Niall Bennett and RLG Canada’s Jade Bassler join forces to discuss what companies need to know to remain compliant and future-proof their business.

Canada currently utilises a combination of extended producer responsibility programs and product stewardship programs to manage products at their end of life.


In cases where individual producers are assigned responsibility, they can either establish their own collection schemes or join a producer responsibility organisation (PRO). The PRO then becomes responsible for meeting collection, recovery, recycling, marketing, and reporting obligations on behalf of individual producers.

The provinces of British Colombia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia have legislation and regulations that provide for either full or partial funding of the packaging recycling system by obligated businesses.

In recent years, there has been substantial progress in extended producer responsibility (EPR) initiatives throughout Canada. As of 2020, the costs associated with stewardship programs in Canada amounted to around $535 million. Projections indicate that these costs are anticipated to rise to approximately $1.5 billion by the year 2025. This upward trend signifies the growing importance and investment in EPR efforts.

How Reconomy supports producers in meeting their EPR obligations

Both Valpak and RLG support producers in meeting their EPR obligations under both provincial and national regulations through their comprehensive international Environmental Compliance Management (ECM) solutions.

In addition, RLG is registered as a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) for both batteries and electronics in Ontario. RLG operates efficient take-back programs, coordinates with accredited and fully audited recyclers, provides safe containers, and will be supporting program operations with modern order management and traceability systems. RLG was also awarded the operating contract for Ontario’s Common Collection System (CCS), providing producers with a full compliance service. This innovative and dynamic collaboration with Circular Materials (CMO) will bring a full Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) infrastructure under Ontario’s Blue Box Regulation to the province.

Barriers to implementing EPR programs

Due to Canada’s Federal system, each province has unique EPR regulations and programs. This decentralized approach has resulted in variations in program requirements, reporting formats, fee structures, and other aspects of EPR implementation. Harmonizing EPR programs across provinces would involve addressing differences in regulations, standards, and operational practices.

A successful waste management program

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in the volume of material collected from recycling bins, bags, and depots. Recycle BC, a product stewardship program in British Colombia, collected over 214,000 net tonnes of packaging and paper products, representing a 5% increase from the previous year. The recovery rate also improved significantly, reaching 94.1% compared to 85.8% in the previous year. Recycle BC’s efforts in 2021 exemplify a successful EPR program that has made a positive impact on the environment.

Upcoming changes

Canada has recently passed the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations (SUPPR) which aims to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. These regulations enforce a ban on the production, importation, and sale of several types of single-use plastic items.

The Government of Canada is continuing to bring forward new measures to better manage plastic and move towards its goal of zero plastic waste. The Federal Plastics Registry is a proposed initiative that aims to standardise data collection on provincial and territorial EPR programs. By establishing a centralised registry, the government can enhance its understanding of plastic waste, value recovery, and pollution across the country. It will also address the inconsistent data requirements and tracking processes of existing EPR programs.

The Canadian Government also plans to introduce regulations on recycled content and labelling rules for plastics.

Valpak and RLG members have access to an environmental compliance network that stretches across the globe. With our fellow Reconomy group members, we can tailor our expertise to your bespoke needs. To find out more about international environmental legislation and how Valpak can help please call us on 03450 682 572 or complete our online enquiry form.