Overview of extended producer responsibility in Canada

In Canada, both “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) and “product stewardship” programs are used to manage products at their end-of-life. The key differences in approaches are explained below:

EPR programs
  • Identify end-of-life management of products as the responsibility of producers (e.g., brand owners, first importers or manufacturers).
  • Funding is provided by producers.
  • Costs can be internalized as a factor of production or may be passed on to consumers.
Product stewardship programs
  • Allocate responsibility to provincial/territorial or municipal governments.
  • Legislated environmental fees and/or public funds are commonly used as a funding base.
  • Usually do not allocate financial responsibility to producers.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), through the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility, supports the move towards greater producer responsibility, including work towards transforming "product stewardship" initiatives into full EPR programs.

For more information on EPR programs and policies, please visit the Primer on EPR section of our website. For a list of EPR programs, product stewardship programs, and other initiatives across Canada, please visit the Recycling program inventory.

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