The City recently received a memo from the Public Works and Environmental Services report to provide members of Council with background information and Staff comments as submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on the revised Final Draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy (Final Draft Strategy).
On November 26 2015, the Province of Ontario introduced Bill 151 into the Provincial Legislature and posted proposed new waste reduction legislation on the Environmental Registry (EBR #012-5832). The Province also released the Draft Strategy for a Waste Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy. The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 identified the provincial interest in the establishment of a resource recovery and waste reduction system and established a new producer responsibility regime that required the province to develop the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy.
On February 24 2016, Council received a report titled: Comments on the Proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act and Draft Strategy for a Waste Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy. Staff comments were submitted to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry on February 29, 2016. Since that time, the Waste Free Ontario Act, 2016 received Royal Assent in June 2016; and the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act 2016 both came into force on November 30, 2016. On December 19 2016, the revised Final Draft Strategy was released, with a public comment period deadline of January 30 2017.
The Final Draft Strategy focuses on moving Ontario towards a circular economy which it describes as: “an economy in which participants strive to:
minimize the use of raw materials;
maximize the useful life of materials and other resources through resource recovery; and
minimize waste generated at the end of life products and packaging.”(6)
This approach has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save and better utilize scarce resources; and to create jobs and financial opportunities. The Final Draft Strategy has two broad goals: a zero waste Ontario; and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector.
To achieve these goals, the Final Draft Strategy identifies four objectives and 15 actions over a ten year timeframe (11). After ten years, a comprehensive review of the final approved Strategy will be undertaken. The substantive details on how the strategy will be accomplished are not currently available for review and consideration as they will be more clearly defined in future regulations.
The short to medium term impacts on municipal waste diversion programs is the transition of existing programs for provincial Blue Box, used tires, waste electronics and municipal hazardous/special waste; to full producer responsibility. The level of municipal involvement in these activities is not prescribed in the strategy, which suggests that future negotiations will take place.
Staff comments as submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate change on the revised Final Draft Strategy are appended below. Staff will continue to work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario, the Municipal Waste Association and the City of Toronto to ensure that municipal interests are well represented as the strategy is implemented and associated regulations and statements of provincial interest are developed.
To review the City’s Comments Regarding Proposed Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario please review the complete memo here.