The patchwork of waste diversion laws in Canada’s provinces and territories continues with the introduction of waste diversion legislation in the last holdout- the Territory of Nunavut.

First “Phase” Wastes Likely Regulated

Bill 27, the Waste Reduction and Diversion Act, sets as its goals the “establishment and enforcement of programs to reduce, recover or divert waste” as well as the “prohibition of materials that cause impairment of the natural environment”. While the Bill is short on details, it would likely extend to most of the first phase of waste diversion in Canada, including:

  • printed paper and packaging (the Bill defines “packaging”)
  • waste electronics and electrical equipment
  • used oils and paints
  • tires
  • (perhaps) batteries and other MHSW

Waste Diversion Without Residency

Importers, brand owners, vendors and manufacturers will likely be obligated under most of these programs regardless of whether they have a business presence in the Territory. Even printed paper and packaging diversion, which is conventionally applicable only to “residents” of a province or territory, may well be extended to non-resident distributors in Nunavut to ensure the diversion rates meet the overall program goals.

On-line and Distributed Sales Trigger Registration Obligations

The introduction of what is admittedly a small-scale waste diversion program highlights the large-scale challenge facing those selling or distributing products into Canada with waste diversion product content – the tracking of distributions, including on-line sales, into each of Canada’s 13 jurisdictions and the consequent participation in (through industry groups or separately) legally-mandated waste diversion programs.

In short, the final frontier of waste diversion in Canada offers no sanctuary, but perhaps it’s the first step towards national, harmonized programs.