The Waste Diversion Act requires companies that are ”stewards” of Designated Blue Box Waste (DBBW) to share in funding 50 per cent of the net cost of the Ontario municipal Blue Box Program. A steward is any organization or company that is a resident in Ontario, and a brand owner/first importer/franchisor that supplies any of the designated Blue Box materials into the Ontario residential market. The questions below will help you determine if your company is a steward.
IS YOUR COMPANY RESIDENT IN ONTARIO?
Only companies that are resident in Ontario are obligated under the Waste Diversion Act. Residency in Ontario means that an organization or company has a permanent establishment in Ontario. A permanent establishment can include an office, a workshop, a factory, a warehouse or some other type of fixed place of business such as an employee’s home office.
To determine residency, please review the Rules and refer to the Guidebook for Stewards: How to Determine if You Are a Steward
ARE YOU/IS YOUR COMPANY A BRAND OWNER, FIRST IMPORTER OR FRANCHISOR OF ONE OR MORE PRODUCTS SOLD IN ONTARIO WITH PACKAGING, OR THAT SUPPLIES PRINTED MATERIAL THAT IS MANAGED IN THE ONTARIO RESIDENTIAL WASTE STREAM?
For the purpose of the Blue Box Program, a brand owner is an organization or company that is the registered trademark holder associated with the designated packaging or printed materials. If the brand/trademark is unregistered, then the steward responsible becomes the organization or company that owns the intellectual property rights to the brand/trademark.
When an Ontario organization or company holds the license for the brand/trademark, then the Ontario organization or company that holds the licensing agreement is the responsible steward, provided that the holder of the brand/trademark is not a resident in Ontario. If an Ontario organization or company has a licensing agreement for a brand/trademark where that brand/trademark is held by another Ontario organization or company, then the steward responsible is the actual brand/trademark holder and not the organization or company that holds the licensing agreement.
A first importer is an Ontario company that is the first to take ownership, possession or control of products into Ontario where the brand owner does not have Ontario residency. A first importer can only be the steward responsible for specific packaging and printed materials in the event that there is no brand owner or franchisor with residency in Ontario.
A franchisor is similar to a brand owner since it is considered to be:
- An organization or company that is a registered trademark holder or licensee of a trademark/brand or
- An organization or company that owns or is the licensee of intellectual property rights of a trademark/brand
Unlike a brand owner, a franchisor is the responsible steward for all designated printed materials and packaging that is supplied by the entire Ontario franchise system, regardless of whether the head office is located in Ontario.
Please also refer to the Blue Box Rules for a Glossary of Key Terms and to the Guidebook for Stewards: How to Determine if You Are a Steward
To help stewards determine if they are responsible as the first importer, Stewardship Ontario publishes a registered steward list on the WeRecycle Reporting Portal. If you feel that an organization or company is missing from the registered steward list please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at The Importance of Product Stewardship.
DO YOUR PRODUCTS GENERATE DESIGNATED BLUE BOX WASTE (DBBW)?
Ontario Regulation 273/02 under the WDA defines designated Blue Box materials as waste consisting of glass, metal, paper, plastic and textiles. This definition is broad in scope and encompasses printed paper and packaging as well as a wide range of consumer products. The Blue Box Program Plan limits the definition of Blue Box materials to consumer packaging material and printed materials that are commonly found in the Ontario residential waste stream—both the garbage and the Blue Box.
For further information, please refer to the Guidebook for Stewards: How to Determine if You Are a Steward
WERE YOUR COMPANY’S GROSS ONTARIO SALES FOR ANY OBLIGATION YEAR (BEGINNING WITH 2002 AND CONTINUING TO THE CURRENT YEAR) GREATER THAN $2 MILLION? OR IS YOUR COMPANY A NON-PROFIT ENTITY?
A de minimis threshold has been a feature of the Blue Box Program since inception. Its purpose is to relieve the administrative burden on both small business and Stewardship Ontario, and was prescribed by the Minister of Environment in a 2002 Blue Box Program Request Letter. The Blue Box Program has two de minimis thresholds—a minimum requirement in order to reduce administrative burdens for small businesses.There is one threshold that a steward must meet in order to be required to report and a second threshold that must be met in order to be required to pay fees.
All non-profit entities, such as municipalities, provincial agencies, colleges or universities and religious organizations are required to report, and the revenue-based threshold is not applicable regardless of the size of their operation. The reporting threshold is revenue-based. A steward is exempt from collecting and reporting data to Stewardship Ontario if the steward, including its affiliates/subsidiaries, has less than $2 million gross revenue into Ontario from the combined sale of all of their products and services in a calendar year.
Stewardship Ontario Blue Box stewards do not need to register on the WeRecycle reporting portal if their gross revenues for the year were less than $2 million. Stewards with Ontario gross sales over $2 million are above the de minimis threshold and will be required to register and report to Stewardship Ontario. For these stewards there is also a fee payment threshold which is weight-based.
Following registration, stewards who supply less than 15,000 kilograms of designated material for use in Ontario in any calendar year are exempted from paying fees for the Program.
Stewards are required to report and pay fees associated with each calendar year in which the de minimis thresholds (both revenue-based and weight-based) are exceeded. As a result, stewards may fall in and out of an obligation to report or pay fees from year to year.
If you answered yes to each of the four questions above, your company is obligated to file a steward’s report with Stewardship Ontario. For more information please refer to the Guidebook for Stewards: How to Determine if You Are a Steward