On June 27th 2019 the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) met in Halifax, NS and released Phase One of the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste. This plan outlines coordinated actions to implement the Canada-Wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste, which ministers launched in November 2018.  The following summarizes Phase 1 of the CCME’s strategy. 

On November 23 2018, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) launched a Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste with 10 result areas for priority action:

Ministers also supported ambitious Canada-wide reduction goals for all municipal solid waste: 30% reduction by 2030 and 50% reduction by 2040 (relative to 2014 levels).
Ministers are developing an Action Plan to implement the strategy in two phases: Phase 1 focuses on the first 5 result areas and Phase 2 focuses on the remaining areas.

On June 27th, 2019, Ministers approved Phase 1 of the Action Plan with concrete actions in six areas:

  • Extended producer responsibility
  • Single-use and disposable products
  • National performance requirements and standards
  • Incentives for a circular economy
  • Infrastructure and innovation investments
  • Public procurement and green operations.

The Government of Canada will be co-leading the development of consistent extended producer responsibility programs within the CCME, as well as supporting national performance requirements and standards, and implementing guidelines and tools for government procurement of sustainable plastics.

Specific Federal actions:

  • Taking action to ban single-use plastics that cause harm as early as 2021 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, where supported by scientific evidence and when warranted, as well as taking other steps to reduce plastic waste
  • Legislation and regulations to prevent pollution and protect habitat (e.g. microbead ban in toiletries)
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (with CCME): Ensuring that companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging are responsible for their collection and recycling
  • Ghost Fishing Gear: Working with industry to prevent and retrieve abandoned, lost, or discarded gear
  • Investing in new Canadian technologies: Funding Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges
  • Mobilizing international support to address plastic pollution
  • Reducing plastic waste from federal operations, with commitments to divert at least 75% of plastic waste by 2030, reduce the use of single-use plastics and promote the purchase of sustainable products
  • Supporting community-led action and citizen-science activities (e.g. the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup)
  • Launching Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda

In an effort to move forward with the next steps of the strategy implementation, Canadian Ministers have asked government officials to develop the second phase of the action plan which will focus on preventing plastic pollution in oceans, inland lakes and waterways. 

The second phase of the action plan will also pay particular attention to monitoring the impacts of plastics pollution within the environment through technology, building consumer awareness, launching clean-ups and taking global action. Phase two of the plan will be considered at the next CCME meeting in Saskatchewan in 2020. 

Read more about the CCME’s Strategy for Zero Plastic Waste