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Beament Hebert Nicholson LLP Blog

Proposed Waste Reduction Act

By Julian Hutchinson

Subsequent to Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley’s announcement on April 4th, 2013, that waste diversion in Ontario would be amended, he has introduced Bill 91 ; aimed at initiating further waste diversion, especially in the industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors, where rates remain low.
The Act will also require waste diversion costs to be embedded in the price of products, instead of being a visible “eco-fee”.  If passed, it would replace the existingWaste Diversion Act, 2002 , and the four currently operating waste diversion programs would be transitioned into the new Act.

Key elements of proposed Waste Reduction Act

  • Individual producers responsible for diverting waste, not the entire industry, the Act will set the standards for waste diversion and services: producers are to determine the best ways to achieve standards. Producers, and all related people, would be equally responsible to meet these standards;
  • Re: “eco-fees”, vendors choosing to publicly display the waste diversion costs that are embedded in the price of a product must do so “in a transparent and accurate manner”. False or misleading representations would be an offence;
  • It would form a new Waste Reduction Authority, from the existing financially challenged and unpopular Waste Diversion Ontario, with responsibility to oversee the compliance and enforcement of the proposed Bill. It would oversee a registry, allow for inspections and enforcement, and could penalize for non-compliance with the Act and regulations. The Authority would be financed by fees and administrative penalties, determined by future regulations; and
  • The Act will require provide for the reimbursement of municipalities by the producers for their collection and handling costs relating to designated wastes.