As of July 1, 2023, collection, management, and promotion and education requirements under the Ontario Blue Box Regulation are in effect for producers. This includes setting up a province-wide collection and management system for their products and packaging once consumers discard them.

The shift to the producer-run Blue Box system is taking a phased-in approach with municipalities and First Nation communities across Ontario transitioning their existing Blue Box programs to the new system starting July 1, 2023, through to December 31, 2025.  

Learn more about producer requirements below or visit the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) Blue Box producer webpage.

As of July 1, 2023, producers must:

  • Establish systems for the collection of Blue Box materials across Ontario.
  • Ensure that all Blue Box materials collected through those systems are processed into recovered resources.
  • Launch a promotion and education program that informs consumers about the collection of Blue Box materials, including what materials are accepted and how they should be prepared for collection.

In order to do this, most producers will contract the services of a business, also known as a producer responsibility organization (PRO), to meet their collection, management, and promotion and education requirements. For more information on working with PROs, visit RPRA’s Blue Box PROs webpage.

Note: some producers do not have collection, management, or promotion and education obligations based on what they supply into the Ontario market. Learn more about exemptions for Blue Box producers here.

Meeting producer collection requirements

On behalf of producers, PROs have established a common collection system that will provide curbside and depot Blue Box service to every household in participating communities in Ontario.

To ensure they meet their collection obligations, producers must either sign up with a PRO to join the common collection system or establish an independent collection system that is operational as of July 1, 2023, as outlined in the recent Registrar’s Statement.

Note: Producers who choose to set up an independent collection system must notify RPRA at registry@rpra.ca immediately to discuss how their system will service over 5 million private households across Ontario.

If a producer fails to comply with the regulatory requirements outlined above by July 1, 2023, they may face enforcement action which can include:

  • Compliance orders
  • Financial penalties
    • The maximum base penalty amount for each producer that fails to satisfy the collection system requirements set out in the Blue Box Regulation as of July 1, 2023 is $200,000 plus economic benefit, which is the value of the benefit gained from breaking the law.
    • The maximum base penalty amount for each producer that fails to implement promotion and education program requirements as of July 1, 2023 is $75,000 plus economic benefit.
  • Prosecution

All compliance orders, financial penalties or prosecutions will be publicly disclosed including the name of the noncompliant producer.

Not in compliance – what should I do?

If your company should be a producer under the Ontario Blue Box Program and you have not yet registered with the RPRA and signed-up with a PRO then you need to do so immediately.  Please reach out to RPRA’s Compliance Team at registry@rpra.ca or 833-600-0530 to avoid enforcement action.  

You should also investigate and talk to the available PROs within the province to find the one that you would like to work with to meet your requirements.

If you would like further information, you can also contact CHPTA’s Michael Jorgenson at mjorgenson@chpta.ca or 416-282-0022 ext.134.

Amendments to Ontario’s Blue Box Regulation

Meanwhile on June 29th, the Government of Ontario amended the Blue Box Regulation to: 

  • Expand permitted deductions used to set management requirements, and
  • Align annual reporting deadlines with other jurisdictions.

These changes came into effect on July 1, 2023, will give producers the option to submit expanded deductions which may impact their management requirement for 2024. 

RPRA will provide further guidance to producers over the coming days.

Below is a summary of the amendments made to the regulation:

Expand permitted deductions used to set management requirements

The amendments will expand permitted deductions to allow producers to deduct the weight of Blue Box materials managed outside the Blue Box system.

Producers can now deduct materials collected from a business or institution where producers are not required to provide Blue Box collection services under the regulation. Examples of these businesses and institutions include:

  • Offices
  • Stores and shopping malls
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • Community centres
  • Places of worship
  • Recreation facilities
  • Sports and entertainment venues
  • Universities and colleges
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Golf courses
  • Cemeteries
  • Amusement parks

The amendments also clarify that producers cannot deduct the following:

1. Blue box material collected from eligible sources:

Producers cannot deduct materials that are managed in locations or systems that are part of the Blue Box system, such as:

  • residences (e.g., homes)
  • facilities (e.g., apartments, condominiums, designated retirement and long-term care homes, schools)
  • depots
  • public spaces (e.g., sidewalk and park recycling bins; public transit stations or stops).

2. Blue Box material collected from supplemental and alternative collection systems:

  • registered supplemental collection systems producers use to supplement their collection results achieved through the Blue Box system.
  • alternative collection systems that producers use in place of the Blue Box system to achieve their collection results.

Align annual reporting deadlines with other Canadian jurisdictions

The government has also amended the Blue Box Regulation to change annual reporting deadlines from April 30 to May 31, which aligns with similar reporting requirements in other jurisdictions nationwide.

Additional changes

The amendments also provide clarification that:

  • beverage containers cannot be deducted, and
  • materials that are deducted cannot count toward a producer’s management requirement.

These amendments reflect the original policy intent of the Blue Box Regulation and will provide clarity regarding a producer’s reporting obligations. RPRA is assessing the operational and cost impacts of the regulatory changes on its compliance program and will provide further guidance to producers in the coming days.

For more information about the amendments, read the decision notice.