The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce welcomes changes to recycling regulation that protect B.C. businesses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, February 4, 2014 – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) applauds the B.C. government for listening to B.C.’s Chamber network and amending a recycling regulation that was causing substantial concern among businesses so that it will impact less that 1% of B.C.’s businesses.
“This is a huge relief to our local business community,” said Adrian Johnson, GVCC President. “This change exempts the majority of our local businesses, including our smallest business members with less than 5 employees, from new costs and red tape.”
The regulation targets packaging and printed paper (PPP) and is slated to go into force in May.
The B.C. government has announced that it will enshrine in regulation an exemption for any B.C. business that meets any of the following criteria:
• annual revenues of less than $1 million;
• less than 1 tonne of packaging and printed paper produced annually and/or
• a single point of retail sale (and not supplied by or operated as part of a franchise, chain or under a banner).
That means that less than 3,000 businesses in the province will be captured by the regulation, out of more than 385,000.
Johnson noted that the GVCC supports the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR), which aligns with B.C. business values, but cautioned that EPR programs need to be implemented carefully to avoid unintended consequences.
“This exemption correctly balances environmental goals with business needs,” Johnson said. “We applaud the B.C. government for responding to businesses’ concerns and limiting the scope of the program, appropriately, to B.C.’s largest PPP producers.”
The Chamber network throughout B.C. raised the alarm about the regulation last summer after businesses across the province were contacted about coming new obligations and fees by Multi Material BC (MMBC), the agency charged with producing a stewardship plan under the regulation.
¬¬¬¬“It became clear that this regulation would have unintended fallout for businesses, and particularly small businesses, across B.C.,” said Johnson. “As a Chamber network, we knew we needed to roll up our sleeves, get to work and fix this thing.”
Backed by local Chambers, the BC Chamber of Commerce worked extensively with the B.C. government and MMBC to hammer out a way forward that avoided a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
“Today’s announcement is the fruit of those labours: A re-tooled regulation that achieves B.C.’s environmental goals, while protecting the vast majority of B.C. businesses from new costs and red tape,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber.
Winter commended the B.C. government for actively listening to, and responding to, businesses’ needs.
“This exemption is a testament to a responsive government that’s serious about its commitment to businesses and to cutting red tape,” Winter said.
Winter also commended local Chambers throughout B.C. for helping drive the solution.
“Our local Chambers have worked heroically on this file, pushing hard for the on-the-ground needs of B.C. businesses,” Winter said. “Our partnership with local Chambers, such as the Vernon Chamber, has been crucial to achieving this victory.”
The BC Chamber and its network of local Chambers will carefully monitor the implementation of this regulation, to ensure that any further issues are quickly identified.
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For further details, please contact:
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
T 250 545 0771
President & CEO
BC Chamber of Commerce
Q: What has changed with this announcement?
A: Under the original regulation, any business that produces packaging and printed paper (PPP) as defined in the Recycling Regulation was required to either register with Multi Material BC (MMBC) or produce its own stewardship plan.
The revised regulation will provide three (3) exemptions to this requirement. Your business is now exempt if it meets any of the following criteria:
• has annual revenues of less than $1 million;
• produces less than 1 tonne of PPP material annually: or
• is a single point of retail
If your business meets one or more of these criteria, you will not be required to register with MMBC or pay any fees under the program.
Q: Does this address all of the Chamber network’s concerns regarding this regulation?
A: At this time, this change addresses all of the BC Chamber’s recommendations to government on this file. Going forward, the BC Chamber will continue to carefully monitor this regulation, and consult with its network for on-the-ground insights, through the implementation stage.
Q: How did this change come about?
A: This change is a clear victory for the Chamber network, which has led the charge on protecting B.C. businesses from fallout under this regulation.
This was an issue raised by member Chambers last summer, following correspondence issued by MMBC to a number of businesses across the province.
After extensive consultation with members, stakeholders and government the change announced today will result in a solution to this issue for the vast majority of our members. The process undertaken to reach this agreement is a testament to the power of the Chamber network.
You as members recognized a problem facing your members. This was then brought to the BC Chamber. Whilst maintaining close communication with member Chambers, we then undertook research and outreach with MMBC and other stakeholders to determine the scale of the issue and potential solutions.
Only after this exhaustive process were we in a position to approach government with an effective, workable solution that addressed the concerns of our members.
Q: I’ve seen the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in the media a lot on the MMBC issue. Didn’t the CFIB push government into making these changes?
A: While all voices were valuable on this issue, the BC Chamber’s leadership was clear. The B.C. government news release announcing the amended regulation singles out the BC Chamber as having led this regulatory change, on behalf of B.C.’s business community.
Moreover, the BC Chamber took leadership on the file last summer, well before the CFIB took up the issue.
Significantly, the BC Chamber’s constructive approach, and extensive work with government and MMBC on the details of today’s announcement, proved pivotal to achieving a solution for B.C. businesses.
Q: How do I know if my business is above the thresholds identified in the amended regulation?
A: The only criteria that will be unclear to businesses will be the amount of PPP material they are responsible for placing into the residential recycling program.
Businesses will need to assess the amount of PPP material they produce. MMBC will make public an online assessment tool that will allow business to quickly and easily assess the amount of PPP they produce.
Q: If my business exceeds all three of these criteria what does that mean?
A: If your business exceeds all of these exemptions then the regulation requires you to either develop your own stewardship plan or to register as part of the MMBC program.
For further details on how to register contact:
• Allen Langdon, Managing Director for MMBC, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 315-8422; or
• MMBC’s steward relations team at 1.888.980.9549 or email@example.com.
Q: Why do we have this program?
A: The regulation is the latest in a series of initiatives that originated in the 2009 Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This plan, agreed to by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, aims to increase diversion and recycling of waste by co-ordinating the provincial EPR programs and extending the application of EPR.
EPR is defined as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility (physical and/or financial) for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. There are two key features of EPR policy:
• the shifting of responsibility (physically and economically) upstream to the producer and away from municipalities, and
• to provide incentives to producers to take environmental considerations into the design of the product.
To date, B.C. has implemented a number of these programs covering a range of products from batteries to paint to smoke alarms through to light bulbs. MMBC is the latest EPR program to be implemented.
Q: Does the BC Chamber support extended producer responsibility (EPR)?
A: The BC Chamber is not opposed to extended producer responsibility.
To this end, the BC Chamber supports a regulation that is carefully targeted at B.C.’s largest producers of packaging and printed paper – a solution which achieves environmental goals, while limiting the red tape and cost impact of this regulation on producers of negligible amounts of PPP.
Q: What’s next on this file? What will the Chamber network be monitoring?
A: The BC Chamber will work with local Chambers to monitor how the implementation of the regulation is going throughout B.C., and will work with government to ensure that the goals of the amended regulation are being achieved.
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
A: Should questions arise regarding MMBC’s plan and sector specific concerns related to the plan contact either:
• Allen Langdon, Managing Director for MMBC, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 315-8422; or
• MMBC’s steward relations team at 1.888.980.9549 or email@example.com
MMBC’s program information can be found at http://multimaterialbc.ca/producers.
For more information on the Recycling Regulation and amendment to include packaging and printed paper contact:
• Julia Bates, Senior Policy Advisor, BC Ministry of Environment: Julia.Bates@gov.bc.ca, or (250) 356-9089.