Canada: Plastics In The Spotlight Part 2

Last Updated: August 6 2019
Article by Julie Abouchar

Since we wrote about " Plastics in the Spotlight", there have been further developments in Canada. The Philippines shipment has been returned to Canada, additional countries have rejected waste shipments, and Federal, provincial and municipal governments across Canada are entertaining legislative responses and plastic bag bans.

Canadian Waste in Foreign Places

China's 2017 ban on the import of foreign garbage, including plastic has contributed to an increase of waste being shipped to various overseas locations.1 From 1992 to 2016, China imported 45% of the world's total plastic waste. Following the ban, illegal recycling factories began operating in developing countries to take advantage of the demand, by burning or burying plastic scraps.2

On June 29th, 2019, a ship carrying 69 storage containers of Canadian garbage and e-waste arrived in Vancouver from the Philippines.3 The containers were the subject of tensions between the Canadian and Philippines government, resulting from the mischaracterization of waste sent to the Philippines as recyclable plastic. When the Philippines government ultimately discovered that the containers contained regular garbage, they demanded the waste be sent back to Canada. Canada eventually agreed to pay for the return of the majority of the containers. The waste is being taken from Vancouver to an energy-from-waste facility, where it is being incinerated. Shipping the containers back to Canada cost the government $1.14 million, plus an additional $375,000 for the incineration.

In a move similar to the Philippines, Malaysia has vowed to start sending back any mischaracterized waste to its country of origin4 . The Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Environment and Climate Change stated that waste is being brought into the country in violation of environmental law. So far, Malaysia has identified 14 alleged offenders, including the United States and Canada.5

Additionally, Environment and Climate Change Canada is looking into claims from the Cambodian government that 13 Canadian shipping containers were discovered in the country's main port in Sihanoukville.6 The Cambodian government has stated that they oppose any import of plastic waste and lubricants for recycling. Similar to the scenario in Malaysia, the origin of the Canadian-identified waste in Cambodia is unknown. Since federal recyclable laws were amended three years ago, Ottawa has not issued any permits for Canadian companies to ship waste overseas.7

Federal and Provincial Reports, Bans and Legislative Responses

Canadian jurisdictions are scrambling to develop a plastics strategy that does not rely on export.

Prince Edward Island's Plastic Bag Reduction Act recently came into force on July 1, 2019, making it the first province to ban plastic bags.8 The Act prohibits businesses from providing plastic bags to customers.

The Ontario government is contemplating a ban on single use plastics in its discussion paper, released this spring9 and announced the appointment of a special advisor on recycling and plastic waste. The special advisor's report is expected this summer on how to resolve plastic waste and litter.10 The solution is expected to include measures to: improve recycling, increase the amount of products that can go to the blue box and ensure producer responsibility.

In the meantime, the federal government has announced a plan to ban single-use plastic by 2021 and to introduce standards for manufacturers of plastic products and companies that sell items with plastic packaging to become responsible for their waste. Both commitments support the previously developed Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste action plan.11


1.Aria Bendix, " Staggering photos show one small town covered in 19,000 tons of plastic waste", Business Insider, (28 May 2019). Retrieved from: .

2. Ibid.

3. Sean Boynton, "Ship carrying 69 containers of garbage arrives in Vancouver after journey from Philippines", Global News, (29 June 2019). Retrieved from:

4.Rozanna Latiff, "Malaysia to send 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste back to countries of origin", Reuters, (28 May 2019). Retrieved from:

5. Ibid.

6. Catharine Tunney, "As Cambodia complains about trash exports, environmentalist urge Canada to ban practice", CBC News, (21 July 2019). Retrieved from:

7. Mia Rabson, "Canada hasn't issued any permits for companies to ship waste, government says", CBC News, (29 May 2019). Retrieved from:

8. Nancy Russell, "P.E.I. prepares for new rules on plastic checkout bags", CBC News, (26 June 2019). Retrieved from:

9. Reducing Litter and Waste in our Communities Discussion Paper 03/Reducing%20Litter%20and%20Waste%20in%20Our%20Communities%20Discussion%20Paper_0 .pdf

10. Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, "Ontario To Tackle Plastic Litter and Waste & Revamp Recycling", News Release, (7 June 2019). Retrieved from:

11. Unknown Author, "Government of Canada taking action to reduce plastic pollution", Government of Canada website, (10 June 2019). Retrieved from:

To view the full article click here

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions