The Single Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations (SUPPR) is Canada’s most recent environmental regulation. This regulation is part of the Government’s ongoing effort to reach zero plastic waste by 2030. This regulation has been annexed to Section 93(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 which regulates the disposal of substances into the environment. The SUPPR has three major categories of regulated products which will be implemented in a three phase approach on the timeline of bans for the three major market segments of single use plastics.
- The first group of items targeted are checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks and straws.
- The second group of items targeted are ring carriers.
- The final group of items are flexible straws packaged with beverage containers.
For greater certainty, these items are defined in s.1 of the SUPPR with technical specifications that include design and chemical composition. Section 1 of SUPPR is also supplemented by additional Technical Guidelines with additional chemical composition, manufacturing and technical terminology. In order to have any item listed designated as reusable/multiuse, the Government has provided a testing scheme which must be conducted using an accredited laboratory under ISO/IEC Standards.
Timeframe for Bans
On December 20, 2022, both the manufacturing and importing of any of the prohibited items from the first group for sale in Canada became illegal. On December 20, 2025 it will be illegal to both manufacture or import single use plastics for export. On June 20, 2023, it will become illegal to manufacture plastic ring carriers for the purposes of sale in Canada. On June 20, 2024, it will become illegal to sell these in Canada and on December 20, 2025 it will be illegal to manufacture, sell and export plastic ring carriers.
Lastly, there is no ban on the manufacturing of flexible plastic straws during 2023. However, In June 2024 it will be illegal to sell flexible plastic straws packaged with drinks with a ban on exportation coming in December 20, 2025 just as it has for the other groups of items with some exceptions.
Exceptions for Flexible Straws
Flexible plastic straws will have some flexibility, in how they are treated. For example, Individuals will be able to sell flexible plastic straws in non-commercial, industrial and institutional settings. Additionally, businesses will be permitted to sell plastic straws to other businesses in packages of twenty (20) or more. Businesses may also sell to individuals in packs of twenty (20) or more but cannot be on display or accessible without the assistance of an employee. Lastly, there is an exception for healthcare providers such as hospitals who will require them for patient care.
In order to ensure compliance with each ban phase, the SUPPR requires strict record keeping requirements. These requirements impose different restrictions for persons that manufactures single use plastics for the purpose of exporting or those who import single use plastics for the purpose of exporting them. These requirements include but are not limited to, recording pertinent dates, quantity and trade names of the plastics. Persons will be required to keep these record at their principle place of business in Canada for five (5) years. If these records are move they must notify the Minister of the Environment within thirty (30) days of the new civic address.
This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be considered a legal opinion. Clients are advised to obtain legal advice on their specific situations.
This article was written with the assistance of our articling student Adam Nangini.