The Ontario government will call on the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority to develop an electronic tracking system for hazardous waste in Ontario. The plan is just one element of an omnibus red tape reduction Bill 132, the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019, introduced in the Legislature on October 28, 2019.
The Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority is a non-Crown corporation that administers producer responsibility programs in Ontario. As part of that role, it operates a public digital registry to receive and share data. Bill 132 will expand the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority’s mandate to include digital reporting services for a wider range of waste and resource recovery programs, including hazardous waste. It would also be permitted to recover its costs from companies in those programs.
The proposal was welcomed by the Ontario Waste Management Association. “We’ve been asking for this for well over 10 years,” says Mike Chopowick, director of Policy and Communications, in an interview with EcoLog News. “We’re pleased that it’s being done now.”
A well-designed system could also be adapted or extended to other uses, such as the tracking of contaminated soils, he adds.
Ontario’s hazardous waste industry currently relies almost exclusively on a paper-based manifest system that requires the processing of hundreds of thousands of documents every year, says Chopowick. A well-designed electronic system should allow users to upload information directly into a central registry and provide industry and regulators with a direct link to up-to-date waste system data.
The Ontario Waste Management Association believes the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority has the appropriate level of independent authority and expertise to ensure monitoring and compliance with regulatory requirements.