Canadian Packaging Waste Regulations: Similarities and differences between provinces

Rachael Finch, Valpak’s International Account Manager, looks at expanding Product Stewardship programmes in Canada, as environmental awareness increases throughout the provinces. In a three-part series, we will look at regulations on packaging waste, waste electronics and waste batteries.

What is Product Stewardship?

Across Canada many of the provinces have adopted ‘Product Stewardship legislation’, which is similar to the principal of ‘extended producer responsibility’ in Europe.

The legislation gives responsibility to industry to pay for part of the cost of recycling programmes throughout the country, sharing the cost with municipal governments. Currently, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan have Packaging Waste Regulations in place.

These are operated under ‘Packaging and Printed Paper Programmes’ where companies must submit the amount of packaging and paper materials they are placing onto the market, including boxboard, glass, aluminium, plastics, steel and more.

Whilst programmes do differ from province to province – for example, in Ontario industry is responsible for funding 50% of the costs for operating a packaging printed paper recycling programme, compared to Manitoba where industry is responsible for 80% of costs, there are a lot of obligation and requirement similarities.

Who is obligated?

Across the five provinces, the following factors obligate a business under Canadian packaging waste regulations:

  • Companies that are residents within the province (a permanent establishment such as a store or warehouse)
  • Companies who are a brand owner, first importer or franchiser of one or more products sold with packaging or that supplies printed material that is managed in the residential waste stream
  • Companies that generate designated waste in the province. It is likely they will be caught by the regulations

Common differences in the regulations between provinces include:

  • Definitions of packaging and printed paper e.g. in British Columbia paper sold as a product is obligated such as envelopes, greeting cards and calendars whereas in Ontario these are not obligated
  • Definitions of brand owner, first importer and franchisor

What are the requirements if your business is obligated?

Common requirements if a business is obligated include:

  • Meeting reporting deadlines and reporting on an annual basis
  • Providing weights and units of obligated packaging and printed paper placed on the market
  • Providing brand names and trademarks that are placed on the market

How Valpak can help

If your business is affected by environmental legislation overseas, we will remove the administrative and resource intensive burden of complying and have a range of services that can be tailored to suit your business’s needs.

To find out more about international environmental legislation and how we can help please call us on 03450 682 572 or complete our online enquiry form.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.