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Providing a long-term source of financial relief for Albertans (Give it Back

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Resolution Category: 
Strategic Initiatives B11
Subject: 
Year: 
2020
Status: 
Adopted - Active
Sponsor(s): 
Calgary, City of
Active Clauses: 

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT should the Government of Alberta adopt EPR legislation, AUMA will work with and encourage every member municipality to pass any and all savings found from the adoption of province-wide EPR directly back to taxpaying and/or ratepaying Albertans.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS Alberta faces unprecedented short and medium-term economic challenges caused mainly by blocked access for oil to markets, the volatility of markets for fossil fuels, and the current COVID-19 threat;

WHEREAS without the ability possessed by other levels of government to repay borrowed funds over a long period of time, municipalities face a unique challenge when attempting to provide tax/rate relief without sacrificing services that might prevent further economic hardship, or contribute to economic recovery;

WHEREAS moving forward, fiscal restraint and tax relief will be critical as other levels of government contend with the debt they have incurred to deal with the COVID-19 threat;

WHEREAS extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach that places the financial and/or physical responsibility for end of life management of products with the companies that produce those products, and would remove the financial burden for recycling programs from ratepayers and/or taxpayers;

WHEREAS under EPR municipalities realize extensive savings due to reduced responsibility for managing paper and packaging products at end of life;

WHEREAS a recent study conducted by the AUMA, the City of Calgary, the City of Edmonton, and industry partners has estimated adoption of Province-wide EPR legislation would result in $105 million in savings to municipalities annually;

WHEREAS these savings would be realized in a way that does not pose a risk to the quality or level of waste management services provided to Albertans, and in some circumstances would perhaps even increase it;

WHEREAS thirty-five Albertan municipalities (including Calgary and Edmonton)—representing the vast majority of Albertans—have individually expressed their support for moving forward with Provincial EPR legislation by way of motion, letter of support, etc.; and

WHEREAS the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Rural Municipalities Association have both endorsed official resolutions calling on the Provincial Government to enact EPR Packaging and Paper Recycling legislation.

Resolution Background: 

Through past AUMA resolutions, municipalities have been calling on the provincial government to enact an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) packaging and paper program and expand the existing recycling programs. EPR shifts the cost of managing recyclable materials from municipalities to producers (like Canadian Tire, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, Proctor and Gamble, and Wal-Mart, for example). Many producers are already responsible for the recycling of packaging and paper products in other provinces with EPR regulations, and they are already incorporating the costs of EPR in their national product pricing as a normal cost of doing business. This means Albertans are paying for recycling twice and paying for recycling elsewhere in Canada. In 2016, producers provided more than $367 million to fund other provincial EPR packaging and paper product recycling, and Alberta received $0.

In late 2018, the AUMA and the City of Calgary worked together on a Notice of Motion advocating EPR legislation for packaging and paper products in Alberta. Thirty-one municipal councils representing more than 70 percent of Alberta residents passed that Notice of Motion supporting for an EPR packaging and paper program.

In 2019, AUMA worked with the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (an industry-led organization manages EPR packaging and paper programs in other provinces), Cities of Calgary and Edmonton on the Alberta Collaborative EPR Study. The research shows that EPR would save Alberta municipalities approximately $105 annually – tax saving for residents and saving could be reallocated to other municipal services. Considering implementation time, the cost of continued inaction quickly climbs to $1 billion. The study underlines that Albertans are the financial beneficiary of an EPR program.

This proposed resolution is to highlight an EPR program provides direct financial benefits to all Albertans. Moreover, Alberta municipalities want to pass on the financial saving to their residents while recognizing that each municipal council’s autonomy on determining the best course of its municipal finance. This proposed resolution is also emphasizing to the Government of Alberta as: 

  1. A clear statement of the forgone benefits and mounting costs of inaction when it comes to implementing EPR for paper and packaging—not only to municipalities, but also to the Albertans who are unnecessarily funding recycling programs across the province.
  2.  A commitment by municipalities to ensure Albertans are the primary beneficiary of EPR in Alberta
Government Response: 

AUMA received a reply from the Minister of Environment and Parks in December 2020 highlighting that the ministry is looking forward to hearing more from AUMA when it begins its engagement with municipalities in early 2021.

AUMA Notes: 

Accepts government response – no further action will be taken

While no further advocacy work is required related to this resolution, AUMA Administration will work with AEP to develop and implement a made-in-Alberta EPR packaging and paper program.

For more information about EPR, please visit the Alberta Collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility Study.