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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is obligated?

The Ontario Waste Diversion Act, 2002 (WDA) requires companies who are designated as “stewards” of residential “Designated Blue Box Waste” (DBBW) to share in funding 50 per cent  of the net cost of Ontario’s municipal Blue Box programs. Review the questions below, and refer to the Guidebook for Stewards to help you determine if your company is likely to be classified as a steward.v

  1. Is your company resident in Ontario? For more information about residency in Ontario and how this concept is applied, please refer to the Rules.
  1. Are you/is your company a brand owner, first importer or franchisor of one or more consumer products and /or printed materials sold or distributed in Ontario?
  1. If you answered yes to question 2, do your organization’s products or printed material generate “Designated Blue Box Waste” (DBBW)? DBBW is defined as packaging and/or printed material that consists of one or a combination of glass, metal, paper, plastic or textiles and that is potentially disposed of in the Ontario municipal residential waste system.
  1. Was your company’s gross Ontario revenue greater than $2 million in any of the obligation years (starting with 2002)? Gross Ontario revenue includes the combined gross revenues from the sale of all products and services in Ontario by your company and all of its affiliates. If your company is a franchise, gross Ontario revenue refers to the combined sales from all of your franchisees’ products and services.

If you answered yes to the four questions above, your company is obligated to file a steward’s report with Stewardship Ontario through the WeRecycle online reporting system.

2. What printed paper and packaging materials are we required to include in our reports?

For a detailed list of Designated Blue Box Waste (DBBW), please refer to the Guidebook for Stewards.

3. Are there any exemptions?

Stewardship Ontario applies a sales-based and a tonnage-based exemption threshold (also known as the “de minimis”) to determine if a steward is required to register with us and to pay fees for the Blue Box Program. If your company’s gross Ontario revenue (described in Question 1) is less than $2 million in any applicable “data” year, then you are exempt from filing a steward’s report for that year. If your company reported less than 15 tonnes of Designated Blue Box Waste (DBBW) packaging and printed material, then you are exempt from paying fees for that obligation period, but must still file a steward’s report.

DBBW materials that are not managed in the residential waste system (i.e. that are managed by private waste-management firms at business establishments) need not be included in the steward’s report.

4. When and how do we register?

Any company may register with Stewardship Ontario but only obligated brand owners, first importers and franchisors resident in Ontario are required by law to do so. Having confirmed that you are a steward, the next step is to register by visiting  the WeRecycle Steward Reporting System. Please begin by reviewing the Reporting Portal Tutorial about Registration. Then proceed to the We Recycle Steward Reporting System and click on New Here? Register Now. On registration, you will receive a steward number, login ID and password to enable you to file a steward’s report online at WeRecycle. For more details about the registration process, please see the Guidebook for Stewards.

5. How do we calculate our fees?

Stewards are required to calculate the actual tonnage (in kilograms) of each material type of Designated Blue Box Waste (DBBW) for which they are obligated. Each DBBW material is associated with an approved fee for that obligation year. Payment deadlines are dependent on each steward’s date of notification for each obligation year. Not sure when your report is due? Check Reporting Deadlines.

6. What level of detail is needed to file a steward's report?

Stewards are required to report actual or measured quantities of Designated Blue Box Waste (DBBW) in kilograms that accompany products for which they are the brand owner and/or first importer, and printed materials that were sold and distributed to Ontario and managed in the province’s municipal residential waste system.

7. How should a large company with several divisions, subsidiaries or many brands report its obligations?

There is no single answer to this. It depends on how your company is structured and where the information is stored. As a general rule, it is best if the head office can coordinate all division/subsidiary reports on behalf of the entire organization by registering as the primary steward contact. The steward reporting system is flexible enough to handle most organizational needs. Additional contacts (secondary contacts) from unique divisions and subsidiaries may be given passwords by the primary contact (from head office) to access the head office’s account and to file packaging and printed material obligations as secondary contacts within that account.

Ultimately, responsibility for the organization’s aggregate obligations resides with the head office or holding company.

If the company as a whole (including all divisions, subsidiaries and brands) is above the de minimis thresholds, then the company must report for all of their divisions and/or subsidiaries under one steward number and under one report. The steward reporting system will allow stewards to break out these divisions for internal cost allocation purposes.

8. How does the printed paper category apply to companies that manufacture products and are reporting on their packaging?

Any printed material that accompanies your product, and that is, or may be, managed through Ontario’s residential municipal waste stream, must be included in your steward’s report. Please refer to the Guidebook for Stewards.

9. How do I change my company's primary contact?

Please provide authorization for the change in the form of an email with a completed Primary Contact Authorization Form signed by a senior officer, or the current primary contact. Once Stewardship Ontario receives your request, we will process your primary contact change within three business days. This timeframe will not apply to requests for changes received within five days of the reporting deadline. We will notify the new primary contact of their login ID and password once the changes are complete. Unfortunately, we cannot accept verbal requests.

10. How do I change my company’s address?

You must notify us of a change of address (e-mail or physical) in writing to

11. How do I change my company’s name?

In the case of a sale, merger, purchase or any other transaction whose sole impact is a legal name change, a steward may request a name change. Stewardship Ontario will require one the following legal documents before changing the company name:

  • Article of Amendment
  • Article of Incorporation (where applicable)
  • Business Registration

Where none of the above documents are available, Stewardship Ontario will accept a letter from the steward’s solicitor.

Please email your request for a change of company name, attach the appropriate documents, and include your current company name along with the name change.

12. How do I change my billing contact?

Primary contacts can make a change to the billing contact through the WeRecycle login, by clicking on the “Contact” tab, making the changes and clicking on “Save Contacts.” You will need to ensure your billing contact has the login ID and password.

13. I forgot my password, what do I do?

To generate a new temporary password by e-mail, go to WeRecycle, click on “Get Support” and follow the instructions for a “Password Reset.” Your User ID will not change. If you receive a message that states “Authentication Failed,” the information you have provided does not match what we have on file.

Please contact us at 1-888-288-3360.

14. Are there extensions to the reporting deadlines?

Stewardship Ontario is unable to grant stewards extensions to their reporting deadlines. The Rules state that stewards who are notified before April 2 have until June 30 to report. Those notified after April 2 have 90 days from their notification date to file any and all outstanding steward’s reports.

15. If my organization has been notified by Stewardship Ontario that we must register and file a report, when will we have to register, and when will we have to report?

Please refer to the current Rules for registration and reporting deadlines.

16. What are the reporting and payment deadlines and the penalties for non-compliance?

A company that receives a notification letter, but fails to file a steward’s report (as defined by the Rules) is “non-compliant.” Non-compliant stewards may be subject to enforcement actions prescribed under Sections 36-41 of the Waste Diversion Act. Stewards who fail to pay fees by the timelines defined in the Rules can be assessed one-time penalties of 10% on fees owing and interest charges of prime plus 3% daily on balances owing.

17. What can I do if an error occurred in a previously filed steward’s report?

In certain circumstances, Stewardship Ontario may allow a steward to re-file a steward’s report. For example, “double reporting,” which can occur if two companies (such as a brand owner and first importer) report the same packaging, may be considered grounds for re-filing. If you have noticed errors on your report, please notify Steward Services in writing at Our representatives will then guide you through the next steps. We will need:

  • To know how/why the error exists
  • To have copies of sales data to substantiate your claim
  • To see what tonnages (weights) should have been reported

18. Do I need to file a steward's report based on the 2005 data year?

Stewards will never need to collect and use their 2005 data in conjunction with filing a steward’s report under this program. This is due to a program modification for 2007 which is meant to facilitate data collection for stewards and to harmonize data requirements with Quebec’s Compensation Regime. Stewards are required to file steward’s reports for the 2005 obligation year (which was based on your company’s 2003 data) and pay associated fees.

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