Recycling: New obligations all retailers need to know - Retail Council of Canada
Stewardship and Recycling | Sustainability

Recycling: New obligations all retailers need to know

June 8, 2021

New recycling obligations for paper and packaging in Canada to impact retailers

Several regulatory frameworks will increase costs for businesses to manage the collection and recycling of paper and packaging they supply to Canadians.

As a result, costs to obligated businesses are expected to increase from $535M in 2020 to $1.5B annually by 2026.


On June 3, 2021, Ontario published its final Blue Box Regulation, transitioning to full Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) over the next 5 years. Ontario introduced a competitive landscape for Producer Responsibility Organizations (PRO), which is a unique framework in Canada. As a result, businesses will be able to select the PRO that best meets their business models.

RCC consolidated the key elements of the draft regulation and details on designated materials, producer definition, small producer exemption, management requirements, recycled content and re-use and many other considers that can be found on RCC’s website.

Read more about the Ontario blue box regulation here.

New Brunswick

On June 3, 2021, the Government of New Brunswick posted its draft amendments to the Designated Materials Regulation – Clean Environment Act (N.B. Regulation 2008-54). These amendments would establish a Packaging and Paper Products Extended Producer Responsibility Program for the province. RCC will be examining these draft amendments and consulting with RCC members before responding to the New Brunswick government.

The draft regulation is for public comment until July 1, 2021. RCC encourages its members to provide feedback to Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director at Feedback can also be sent directly to the New Brunswick government at or directly to Jeff Porter, New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government, at (506) 453-4334.


A draft regulation modernizing Quebec’s paper and packaging curbside recycling system is expected in the second half of 2021. This will replace the current municipal cost compensation system with a Extended Producer Responsibility framework where businesses supplying paper and packaging have more control over the value chain, once the material is collected. Concurrently, the province will also expand its current beverage container deposit system. RCC and its members have been engaged in productive working group discussions with the QC government over the past six months to inform the government regulatory design process.

Alberta and Saskatchewan

Consultations on Extended Producer Responsibility discussion papers (click here for ABhere for SK) have recently ended.

Both provinces will now be developing a regulatory framework to manage transition towards EPR.