Shifting the burden: Alberta launches new Extended Producer Responsibility Regulation

5 minute read
29 November 2022

On Nov. 30, 2022, Alberta's new Extended Producer Responsibility Regulation[1] (the "EPR Regulation") will come into force, creating an extended producer responsibility ("EPR") framework for certain products ending up in the residential waste stream in Alberta. This legislation will bring Alberta in line with other jurisdictions with EPR frameworks, like British Columbia and Ontario. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the new Alberta EPR framework to assist companies in understanding upcoming changes in Alberta.

The Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations

The EPR Regulation implements two EPR systems:

  • Single-use products and packaging and printed paper ("PPP") - designated products include paper, plastics, metal, and glass.
  • Hazardous and special products ("HSP") - designated products include consumer-sized solid, liquid, and gaseous products that are flammable, corrosive, and toxic, including batteries and pesticides.

Products already covered by a provincially-regulated recycling program in Alberta will not be included in the new PPP and HSP systems. Currently, beverage containers, electronics, paint and paint containers, tires, and used oil materials are excluded from the new systems.

The Alberta Recycling Management Authority ("ARMA") will provide oversight of Alberta's new PPP and HSP systems. ARMA will have authority to develop bylaws that outline requirements related to registration, reporting, auditing, promotion of EPR, a dispute resolution process, thresholds for exemptions, and compliance matters.

Who is obligated?

Like EPR programs in other jurisdictions, "producers" will be fully responsible (financially and operationally) for the collection and management of designated products after consumer use. Producers will also be responsible for collection services, achieving performance standards, and educating Albertans on the new regime.

For PPP and HSP, the obligated producer of a given designated material is based upon the following hierarchy:[2]

  • the brand holder resident in Canada;
  • if no resident brand holder, the importer resident in Alberta; or
  • if no resident brand holder or importer, the retailer who supplied the material to the consumer.

Key dates

As stated above, the EPR Regulation comes into force on Nov. 30, 2022. The Government of Alberta recognizes it will take time for producers of covered products to develop and implement the EPR systems. As such, producers will be required to provide verification of collection and management plans to ARMA by April 1, 2024. EPR systems for PPP and HSP will be operational by April 1, 2025. According to the Government of Alberta, Albertans will not experience any changes to waste and recycling processes until this time.[3]

Next steps

Gowling WLG will continue to monitor the development of the Alberta EPR framework closely and will publish further updates as information becomes available.

Please see our primer on product stewardship and EPR programs and our Summer 2022 Canadian stewardship and EPR update for information on product stewardship and EPR across Canada. The environmental law team at Gowling WLG has assisted many entities in meeting their EPR and stewardship requirements across Canada. If you have questions about your company's obligations, we encourage you to contact any member of our team.

[1] Extended Producer Responsibility Regulation, Alta Reg 194/2022 [EPR Regulation].

[2] EPR Regulation, ss. 14 and 23.

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