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The Importance of Product Stewardship

INDUSTRY FUNDING

Stewardship Ontario operates the Blue Box Program under the authority of the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 (WDA). Stewardship Ontario is designated in legislation as an “Industry Funding Organization,” meaning it is the responsibility of industry to pay for part of the cost of the Blue Box program under “shared responsibility”—a modified form of Extended Producer Responsibility, also known as Product Stewardship.

A FAIR SHARE OF COSTS

The fairness of our Blue Box Program rests on the willingness of all industry stewards obligated under legislation to recognize their responsibility, report accurately, meet reporting deadlines, pay invoices on time and play by the rules. Accurate and timely reporting is essential for Stewardship Ontario to allocate program costs equitably and set fees that are fair. Full participation and timely payment are also important to avoid “free riding,” ensure that all obligated companies are included in the program and avoid the possibility that stewards who accept responsibility don’t have to pay for those who do not.

Stewards share responsibility for the Blue Box program with municipal governments, contributing approximately $100 million per year (half the cost1).

Should a steward fail to meet its obligations, the Waste Diversion Act details the enforcement provisions and penalties for non-compliance. To create a level playing field for all its stewards, and an equitable distribution of costs, Stewardship Ontario has Steward Services and Compliance Teams, and is supported by the compliance and enforcement activities of the Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) Investigations and Enforcement Branch (IEB). This ensures everyone obligated under the WDA pays a fair share of the cost of operating the Blue Box Program.

WHO IS AN OBLIGATED STEWARD?

  • A company that is resident in Ontario.
  • A company that is 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.
  • A company whose products generate designated Blue Box waste.
  • A company that has gross Ontario sales for any obligation year, beginning with 2002 and continuing to the current year, greater than $2 million, or is a non-profit entity.

For more details see: Am I a Blue Box Steward?

ARE YOU AWARE OF UNREGISTERED STEWARDS?

Our Compliance Team welcomes support from stewards and the public to identify and register unregistered stewards. Check first that the company is not reporting by checking the steward list. If a company appears to be an obligated Steward but is not registered, there are two ways you can let us know:

Contact a Compliance Specialist

Or anonymously complete this form with details about the company you are reporting:

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY

We take the privacy of the information you provide us very seriously. Stewardship Ontario Privacy Policy.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A COMPANY IS FOUND NON-COMPLIANT?

If a registered steward fails to file timely and accurate reports or pay stewardship fees, or if a notified steward fails to register, Stewardship Ontario’s Compliance Team attempts to bring the non-compliant party into compliance. At any time where a steward is in non-compliance, the matter may be forwarded to the Ministry of the Environment’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch.  The Investigations and Enforcement Branch will consider the matter and determine whether additional compliance and enforcement action will be taken under the WDA.  Under the act if an individual (corporation) is convicted, he/she (the corporation) may be subject to a fine of not more than $20,000 ($100,000) for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues.

WHAT DOES STEWARDSHIP ONTARIO DO TO ENSURE PROGRAM FAIRNESS?

SOLICITS STEWARD REPORTS:

Stewardship Ontario’s Compliance Team helps solicit information when stewards fail to report.

ENSURES STEWARD REPORTS ARE ACCURATE:

Inaccurate reports mean that stewards may pay too much or too little. To help ensure everyone pays a fair share of operating costs, Stewardship Ontario’s Compliance Team engages highly qualified individuals from third party audit firms to review steward reports. These reviews either confirm the accuracy of the reports or identify reporting errors for which stewards are held accountable. The reviews also help Stewardship Ontario understand reporting challenges so that we can provide guidance.

ENFORCES STEWARD FEE PAYMENTS:

Stewardship Ontario’s Compliance Team helps collect delinquent accounts receivable.

RESOLVES MISUNDERSTANDINGS:

We understand that mistakes and misunderstandings happen. Our Compliance Team makes every effort to address errors and resolve issues fairly and amicably.

CONTACT US

If you would like to contact our Compliance Team, please email: complianceteam@stewardshipontario.ca

RESOURCES

The Waste Diversion Act
Blue Box Rules
Blue Box Program Plan
Blue Box Guidebooks
Confidentiality and Privacy

1 s.25(5) of the Waste Diversion Act (WDA) states: A waste diversion program developed under this Act for blue box waste must provide for payments to municipalities to be determined in a manner that results in the total amount paid to all municipalities under the program being equal to 50 per cent of the total net costs incurred by those municipalities as a result of the program.


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