The Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA), the regulator mandated by the Government of Ontario to enforce the province’s circular economy laws, held a webinar for producers on November 30th with over 300 persons in attendance to help explain the rule creation process for the Province’s new Blue Box Program Regulation.

A recording of the webinar plus copies of the presentation slides can be downloaded here from the RPRA website.

Registration obligation:

First of all, the RPRA wanted to remind producers that the deadline for registering with the RPRA and reporting materials data info was October 1, 2021.  If you are a producer and have not done so then you are out of compliance with the new regulations and may be subject to enforcement action by the RPRA, so please complete this Registration Form and email it as an attachment to registry@rpra.ca as soon as possible.  RPRA will assist you if you need the help.

If you are unsure if you have registered, please review the list of registered Blue Box producers or contact RPRA’s Compliance and Registry Team at registry@rpra.ca or 1-833-600-0530.

For a producer to have a say in the rule creation process, you first need to be properly registered in the program.

Working with rule creator PROs:

A producer responsibility organization, or PRO, is a business established to contract with producers to provide collection, management and administrative services to help producers meet their regulatory obligations under the Blue Box Regulation, including:

  • Representing a producer for the purposes of the creation of the rules
  • Arranging, establishing or operating a collection or management system
  • Arranging, establishing or operating promotion and education system
  • Preparing and submitting reports

PROs for the Blue Box Program were required to register as a rule creator by October 31, 2021. RPRA confirmed three rule creator PROs as of November 1st:

Rule creators are responsible for developing the rules that will outline how Blue Box producers are assigned collection services in the allocation table. 

Rule creators are PROs who:

  • have entered into representation agreements with one or more producers of Blue Box material supplied to consumers in Ontario in 2020;
  • have registered with the Authority as a rule creator before November 1, 2021;
  • represent one or more producers that in aggregate supplied at least 20,000 tonnes of Blue Box material to consumers in Ontario in 2020.

Producers that are represented by a PRO are also required to register their representation agreement for the purposes of rule creation.

As of November 1, 2021, no new rule creators can register, however, a rule creator may revoke their registration.

For more information, including rule creator contact details, visit RPRA’s Blue Box PROs webpage.

While there is no requirement to select a PRO as your rule creator under the Blue Box Regulation, producers who want to ensure that they are represented through the rule creation process should have a representation agreement in place with a PRO.

If you have not yet signed up with a rule creator PRO but want to be represented in the rule creation process, you can select one up until the rules are submitted. You must inform the RPRA of your representation agreement with a rule creator PRO by emailing registry@rpra.ca.

If you have already selected a rule creator PRO but want to make a change, you can switch from one to another up until the rules are submitted. To change your rule creator PRO, you must notify the RPRA by emailing registry@rpra.ca within 5 days of the change.

Note, producers can have a different PRO for the purposes of rule creation and providing collection/management services, and they can enter contracts for each at different times.

What do rule creators do?

  • Rule creators make the ten rules that outline how the allocation table will be created
  • The allocation table is how producers will be assigned collection requirements
  • The allocation table is the tool that will provide the following information:
    • Details of the Blue Box collection period
    • Every residence and facility that is eligible for Blue Box collection services
    • Every registered producer required to meet Blue Box material management   requirements through collection services
    • The allocation of all municipalities and First Nation communities outside of the Far North to producers for the Blue Box collection period

Submission of the rules:

  • The rule creation process and allocation table making process are set out in Part III of the Blue Box Regulation. 
  • The earliest the rules can be submitted to RPRA is January 1, 2022. 
  • Not all registered producers may have selected a rule creator when the rules are submitted.  The allocation table for the collection period starting July 1, 2023, must be submitted to RPRA on or before July 1, 2022.
  • Submitted rules must address all 10 requirements and must not go beyond the scope of those 10 requirements.

Note, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks can make rules at any time including post July 1, 2022.

What must the rules address?

  1. Identify the person or persons that will create the allocation table, or identify a procedure for identifying this person or persons. 
  2. Set out requirements and procedures that apply when a person or persons create the allocation table, including requirements and procedures related to how eligible sources are allocated to producers.
  3. Set out requirements and procedures for the creation of the allocation table during the transition period, including requirements and procedures about how to allocate residences and facilities that will become eligible sources as eligible communities start to receive collection services under this Regulation in accordance with the Blue Box Transition Schedule. 
  4. Set out any requirements and procedures that apply to the allocation of residences or facilities that become, or cease to be, eligible sources during the collection period covered by an allocation table. 
  5. Set out any requirements and procedures that apply to the inclusion of persons that become producers, or the exclusion of persons that cease to be producers, during the collection period covered by an allocation table.
  6. Specify the length of the collection period the allocation table will apply to, with, i. the first collection period starting on the first day of the transition period and ending on December 31 of a year, and ii. any subsequent collection period being set in increments of a year, starting on January 1, with the minimum collection period being one year. 
  7. Specify the circumstances when the person or persons who make the allocation table must create a revised allocation table either for an entire collection period or for the remaining portion of a collection period. 
  8. Set out requirements and procedures for the creation and coming into effect of a revised allocation table. 
  9. Set out requirements and procedures for the proposal, consideration, and approval of amendments to the rules by the persons referred to in clause 14 (5) (b). 
  10. Set out any information that the Authority must provide to the person or persons who make the allocation table and requirements in respect of maintaining the confidentiality of this information.

Confirming agreement with the rules:

  • When the rules are submitted to RPRA, rule creators may register their agreement with the proposed rules with RPRA within five days of rules being submitted. 
  • RPRA must then confirm that, out of those producers who have representation agreements with rule creators, at least 66% agree with the rules. 
  • RPRA will use the following formula to determine agreement with the rules using data as of the date that the rules were submitted: 
    • Weight of Blue Box materials supplied* by producers who are represented by PROs in agreement with the rules
    • Total weight of Blue Box materials supplied* by producers who are represented by PROs in the rule creation process

* Does not apply to Blue Box material in the certified compostable products and packaging material category

  • RPRA will: 
    • Redo this calculation each time the rules are submitted.
      • Use producers’ 2020 supply data reported to RPRA as of the date that the rules were submitted.
      • Use producers’ supply weight net their deductions.
      • Use the data that is in the Registry as submitted by both PROs and producers at the time rules are submitted (i.e., both the PRO and producer must have indicated they have a representation agreement).
      • RPRA may require information from producers and PROs about their current representation agreements when the rules are submitted.
  • Once RPRA confirms that there is 66% agreement with the rules, RPRA will post the final rules on its website.

Remember, if you require any further assistance, please contact RPRA’s Compliance and Registry Team at registry@rpra.ca or 1-833-600-0530. Read the full story.