Summary Report on the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Roundtable on Extended Producer Responsibility
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) in Ontario has reached an impasse. Despite years of stakeholder consultations and discussions, relationships have been strained and progress hampered by conflicting views about roles, responsibilities, fees, and program structure and implementation.
In an effort to move the conversation forward, on November 22nd, 2012, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) convened 30 stakeholders to discuss EPR in Ontario. These stakeholders included representatives from producers (e.g., brand owners, importers, and manufacturers), municipalities, the processing industry, the retail industry, industry funding organizations, Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) and other organizations. MPPs and their staff, as well as staff of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), also attended the roundtable as observers.
Prior to the roundtable itself, the ECO sent invited participants a number of discussion statements related to EPR in Ontario (see Appendix 1) and asked participants to submit revisions and comments on these statements. After compiling the feedback and attempting to identify points of consensus, the ECO circulated a revised set of discussion statements (see Appendix 2), which became the basis of the roundtable discussion.
At the roundtable, the Commissioner presented each statement in turn to the convened group, soliciting comments, concerns, and caveats from the participants. Through the ensuing discussions, revisions were made to the statements to make them more agreeable to the group, while acknowledging qualifications and concerns. While unanimous agreement was not reached for every discussion point, the process allowed participants to provide views and concerns in a constructive way, resulting in a framework of basic principles that could be used as a foundation for future discussions on EPR in Ontario.