August 15, 2019

Stewardship Ontario receives Minister's direction 
letter to begin Blue Box transition

The Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) today provided Stewardship Ontario with a letter directing it to begin planning to transition the Blue Box Program to full producer responsibility in which industry will be responsible for both the funding and operation of residential recycling in the province of Ontario.

Stewardship Ontario is to submit its plan to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (the Authority) by June 30, 2020. It is expected that the Authority will approve the plan by December 31, 2020. During this time, the Ontario government will develop and consult on regulations to support the new responsibility framework for the Blue Box Program. The first communities will be transitioned beginning January 1, 2023, with the entire province operating under the new framework by December 31, 2025.

The direction letter (available here) aligns with the report from Ontario's Special Advisor on Recycling and Plastic Waste that was released August 6, 2019 (more information on the report is available here). The letter identifies a number of principles to guide the development of the plan, including:
  • Parties affected by the transition should be consulted and have opportunities for meaningful engagement during the development and implementation of the plan.
  • The plan shall support competition in, and not adversely affect, Ontario's current and future marketplace for the collection and recovery of paper products and packaging.
  • Ontarians' access to and experience with the Blue Box Program shall not be negatively impacted during the transition.
Stewardship Ontario looks forward to working with stewards, municipalities, First Nation communities, MECP, the Authority and all other stakeholders as we prepare to move forward and transition Ontario's Blue Box to full producer responsibility.

Stewards will be kept informed as work on the transition plan proceeds.