Does your company make products that require packaging? Do you have a business in Quebec that produces or distributes containers, packaging or printed matter? Do you know that you may be required to contribute to financing the cost of municipal curbside recycling programs based on the quantities of such materials that you generate and distribute to consumers?
On December 12, 2002, the Quebec National Assembly passed Bill 102 entitled An Act to amend the Environment Quality Act and the Act respecting the Société québécoise de récupération et de recyclage. Among the measures implemented by the Bill was the addition of sections 53.31.1 to 53.31.20 to the Environment Quality Act, which sections set up a regime designed to allow municipalities to be compensated for the services they provide in order to ensure that various residual materials are recovered and reclaimed.
In addition, the Regulation respecting compensation for municipal services provided to recover and reclaim residual materials, R.R.Q., c. Q-2, r. 2.3 (the “Regulation”) was enacted to determine certain parameters of the compensation regime. Among other things, the Regulation designates the persons subject to paying a contribution and the materials or classes of materials to which the compensation regime applies.
A. TARGETED ENTITIES
Every company or organization that:
- is the owner of a brand, a name or a distinguishing guise,
- has a domicile, establishment or place of business in Quebec, and
- generates materials included in the targeted classes ultimately intended for Quebec consumers
is required to pay a contribution in respect of:
- containers and packaging used for commercializing or marketing in Quebec a product or service under that brand, name or distinguishing guise;
- containers and packaging identified by that brand, name or distinguishing guise; and
- materials included in the printed matter class identified by that brand, name or distinguishing guise.
The terms “brand”, “name” and “distinguishing guise” are defined in the Regulation. Special rules apply to containers or packaging added at retail outlets. In addition, companies and organizations that are already required to participate in recovery or reclamation programs for certain containers and packaging, such as the program for the recovery of refillable beer bottles, are exempt from paying a contribution in relation to those containers and packaging.
It should also be noted that if the owner referred to above has no domicile or place of business in Quebec, payment of the contribution may be imposed on the first supplier in Quebec of the products or the containers and packaging, other than the manufacturer, or, as the case may be, on the first supplier of the printed matter concerned.
B. CLASSES OF MATERIALS COVERED BY THE CONTRIBUTION SCHEME
1. Containers and Packaging
The “Containers and Packaging” class of materials subject to the compensation regime includes all types of flexible or rigid material, including paper, carton, plastic, glass or metal, used alone or in combination with other materials, to contain, protect, wrap or present a product or a set of products at any stage in the movement of the product or set of products from the producer to the ultimate user or consumer.
Tertiary or transport packaging, i.e., containers and packaging designed to facilitate the handling and transport of multiple sales units, such as wood pallets and transport containers, so as to prevent physical handling and transport damage, is excluded. However, containers and packaging that may be used not only for such transport but also for delivery of products directly to ultimate consumers or recipients of the products, including paper, carton, polystyrene protection or plastic film, are included in the class.
2. Written Media
The “Written Media” class of materials includes paper and other cellulosic fibres used as a medium for newspapers, magazines, periodicals or any other similar written matter sold or available free of charge and published mainly to deliver opinions, news or comments on current affairs or on a particular subject or theme. The class also includes containers and packaging used to deliver written media directly to ultimate consumers or recipients. Compensatory contributions will be required in respect of the “Written Media” class of residual materials when a Fee Schedule covering this class is adopted in the future by the Government.
3. Printed Matter
The “Printed Matter” class of materials includes paper and other cellulosic fibres, whether or not they are used as a medium for text or images, except books and materials in the “Written Media” class of materials.
C. BODY CERTIFIED TO COLLECT CONTRIBUTIONS
Éco Entreprises Québec (“EEQ”), in its capacity as the body certified for the “Containers and Packaging” and “Printed Matter” classes of residual materials, is entrusted with collecting the contributions needed to make up the amount of the compensation which the entities targeted in relation to those classes of materials will now be required to pay to the municipalities. The Fee Schedule establishing the amounts of such compensatory contributions came into force on March 15, 2007.
Accordingly, in order to meet their obligations, companies and organizations that produce or distribute containers, packaging or printed matter in Quebec must register with EEQ as the body certified to represent them, file the necessary reports and pay the required contributions.
D. REGISTRATION AND REPORTING
Every entity that markets materials in the “Containers and Packaging” or “Printer Matter” classes in Quebec is required to register with and submit various information to EEQ. For the 2005 and 2006 obligation years, entities that marketed such materials in Quebec during the calendar years 2004 and 2005 were to have registered with EEQ by June 13, 2007. However, many were given additional time to complete these formalities. The date for completion of the registration process for the 2007 obligation year by entities that marketed such materials in Quebec during the 2006 calendar year is yet to be determined.
In order to determine the amount of the contribution payable, each entity is to provide EEQ with a report specifying the type and quantity of materials marketed during the reference year. Such a report for the 2005 and 2006 obligation years was also supposed to have been filed by June 13, 2007.
The registration and report forms are to be sent to EEQ in electronic form. The forms can be completed directly on the EEQ’s website.
However, an entity that has marketed less than ten metric tonnes of such materials in a given year, or whose gross revenues for such year were less than $1,500,000, may elect to pay a flat fee of $280.
E. PAYMENT OF CONTRIBUTIONS
In accordance with section 4.3.1 of the Fee Schedule, the contributions payable for the 2005 and 2006 obligation years were to have been paid to EEQ by July 13, 2007. As with the date for the registration and reporting formalities, the date that will apply to payment of the contribution for the 2007 obligation year has not yet been published.