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Legal Guide

Generation and transport

Waste management obligations are set out in various federal and provincial statutes. Transportation and disposal of hazardous wastes in Canada is strictly regulated. Transport Canada regulates interprovincial transport, as well as the import and export of hazardous waste. Provincial governments otherwise regulate the generation, transport, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. Waste may only be generated, handled, stored, processed and disposed of pursuant to a permit, and at an approved facility (which may be an on-site facility). Collection of residential waste is a matter of municipal responsibility.

All hazardous waste shipments require completion of a hazardous waste manifest and may only be transported by licensed carriers. Certain categories of hazardous waste, such as asbestos waste and PCB waste, are subject to special requirements.

There is a general duty on waste generators to ensure that waste is only transported and disposed of by a licensed party, pursuant to a properly issued waste manifest, and that a follow-up is conducted to ensure the waste has arrived at the designated disposal site. Failure to do so can result in fines.

Waste diversion

Provincial governments are responsible for the regulation of waste diversion, deposit return and other recycling programs under a variety of schemes, which increasingly shift the associated costs to the business that put the original item that generated the waste into the stream of commerce. Increasingly, Canadian provinces are considering point-of-sale levies for electronics recycling. Mandatory vendor take-back programs currently exist only for alcoholic beverage containers. Employers over a certain size must implement mandatory waste separation programs.

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