Maidment said at the conference that the Waste-Free Ontario Act consists of two parts.
The first is the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, which creates a Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority and establishes producer responsibilities, enforcement provisions and other regulations.
The second is the Waste Diversion Transition Act, which covers the transition from current stewardship laws to the RRCEA, he said.
The RRCEA, according to Maidment, defines “producers” as brand holders, alternate or additional persons with commercial connections to brand holders, and persons who import, wholesale, lease or retail the product.
Responsibilities of producers under the RRCEA include registration, waste reduction, collection, management, promotion and education, and reporting and recordkeeping, Maidment said.
“These legislative obligations, if taken literally, would put producers in the waste management business,” he said.
“It is understood that producers will be able to discharge their responsibility, if not their underlining legal obligations, in one of several ways—individually, or by joining a collective,” Maidment said.
“But before they join a collective, producers must first create it.”
The draft strategy for the Waste-Free Ontario Act outlines Ontario's vision of a circular economy, said John Armiento, manager of waste diversion for the Environment Ministry.
“The RRCEA enables the government to issue policy statements that provide direction on furthering the implementation of the provincial interest,” he said.
“These statements will be developed in consultation with partner ministries, municipalities and key stakeholders.”
Under the RRCEA, persons and groups with producer responsibility will be required to “have regard to” the provincial interest in a circular economy and “be consistent with” provincial policies when engaging in resource recovery and waste reduction, Armiento said.