As you may recall, on August 15, 2019, the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks issued direction to the Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority (RPRA) “The Authority” and Stewardship Ontario (SO) to begin transitioning the management of Ontario’s Blue Box Program to producers of plastic and other packaging. The Blue Box Program will transition to the new regulatory framework for resource recovery starting on January 1, 2023 through to December 31, 2025.  

The RPRA was created in November 2016 by the Government of Ontario to support the transition to a circular economy and a waste-free Ontario.  They receive their authority from the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (RRCEA) and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 (WDTA). 

Under the WDTA, RPRA oversees three waste diversion programs- Blue Box, Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW), and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)– and their eventual wind up.

Under the RRCEA, they enforce individual producer responsibility (IPR) requirements for managing waste associated with products and packaging. Learn more about IPR.

On April 3, 2020, the Minister extended the deadline for Stewardship Ontario to submit its proposed Blue Box Program Wind-up Plan to the Authority to August 31, 2020, instead of June 30, 2020.  The extension was requested by SO due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure meaningful consultation with stakeholders. 

The plan submitted met requirements outlined in the Minister’s August 15, 2019 direction letter, including the expectation of the Authority to review, consult on and approve the plan no later than December 31, 2020. The timelines for the wind-up of the Blue Box Program and transition to the individual producer responsibility framework also remains the same.

For more details on what was in the plan and input from stakeholders, please refer to the SO webinar consultations on the Blue Box Program Wind-up Plan that took place on June 16 and 17, 2020. Review the consultation materials. 

During the transition, Stewardship Ontario will continue to operate the Blue Box Program without disruption. Please continue to contact them directly for any operational inquiries: werecycle@stewardshipontario.ca.

In addition to CHHMA updates, you can continue to monitor information related to the Ontario Blue Box Program transition and future consultations on the RPRA website at https://rpra.ca/programs/blue-box/blue-box-transition/ as well as Stewardship Ontario’s site at https://stewardshipontario.ca/bluebox-transition/.