Waste-Free Ontario Act
Bill or Act:
Bill # 151
Summary of Decision:
The Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario June 1, 2016 and received Royal Assent on June 9, 2016. Once proclaimed, the Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 will enact two Acts: the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016.
The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 will implement a producer responsibility framework for products and packaging in Ontario by making brand holders and other persons with a commercial connection to products and packaging accountable for recovering associated resources and reducing associated waste. The Act will overhaul Waste Diversion Ontario into the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority which will oversee the implementation and operation of this new producer responsibility framework. The Authority will be equipped with new powers, new compliance and enforcement tools, and will be subject to enhanced oversight and accountability.
The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 also establishes an overarching provincial interest in resource recovery and waste reduction and enables the government to issue policy statements to support that interest. It will require ministries, municipalities, producers and others to perform waste reduction and resource recovery activities in a manner that is consistent with those policies.
The Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 will allow the products and packaging managed under existing waste diversion programs to be smoothly transitioned to the new producer responsibility framework, without disrupting current access to existing recycling services.
November 26, 2015
Summary of Proposal:
Waste diversion in Ontario has stalled around 25 percent over the last decade. While most of the success is coming from the residential sector, where 47 percent of household waste is diverted from landfill, the diversion rate for the rest of the economy is much lower.
Existing waste diversion programs established under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 cover only 15 percent of Ontario's waste stream and no new programs have been established under this Act since 2009. There is broad consensus among stakeholders that fundamental changes are needed to the legislative framework to move Ontario towards a circular economy, where end-of-life materials become feedstock for new products and packaging.
Failure to take action has economic and environmental consequences, including the loss of valuable resources, the lost opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the dwindling capacity of Ontario's landfills and the increasing pressure on municipal taxpayers and industries to fund diversion efforts and rising costs.
To address these concerns, the government introduced on November 26, 2015 Bill 151, proposed omnibus legislation titled the Waste-Free Ontario Act that if passed by the Ontario Legislature, would enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and the Waste Diversion Transition Act. The proposed legislation is intended to enable a shift to a circular economy which would increase resource recovery and waste reduction in Ontario.
The proposed legislation includes:
A new Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act that would:
1) Establish the provincial interest in resource recovery and waste reduction and enable the government to issue policy statements to provide further direction on the provincial interest.
2) Establish a new outcomes-based producer responsibility regime that holds responsible persons accountable for recovering resources and reducing waste associated with their products and packaging.
3) Overhaul Waste Diversion Ontario, the existing oversight body under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002, as the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority with responsibility to oversee the new producer responsibility regime and existing waste diversion programs and their transition.
4) Establish the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy, which will outline a vision and goals for resource recovery and waste reduction and identify actions under the proposed Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and other acts, e.g. the Environmental Protection Act.
A new Waste Diversion Transition Act that would:
1) Replace the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 to enable the smooth transition of existing programs to the new producer responsibility regime.
2) Allow for the wind-up of the existing waste diversion programs and the Industry Funding Organizations (IFO) that operate these programs. Once programs and IFOs under the proposed Waste Diversion Transition Act are wound up, the Act would be repealed.
June 9, 2016