UPDATE – ON: Clarification on recycling regulations for refillable propane cylinders

On August 4, 2021, the CPA met with Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ (MOECP) representatives to discuss the requirements for refillable propane cylinders under Ontario Regulation 449/21, Hazardous and Special Products (HSP) Category E.

Since the final HSP regulation was posted in June 2021, the CPA has been seeking an explanation for the about-face in terms of the treatment of refillable propane cylinders. The initial draft regulation posted in February reflected the CPA’s position that refillable propane cylinders be exempted from the new regime due to the sector’s significant contribution to the circular economy and an over 90 % long-standing recycling rate. By June, the final regulation not only included refillable propane cylinders, but an entire category was created, Category E, specifically for refillable propane cylinders for 109 water litre capacity or less.

At the August 4 meeting, MOECP staff were unable to provide a viable reason as to why these products were captured in the final regulation, other than to cite concerns raised by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) regarding cylinders deposited in municipalities. The CPA has consistently held and communicated to government that the volumes cited by AMO were overstated and their concerns misplaced with respect to the significance of this issue.

Ministry representatives outlined three primary regulatory obligations for Category E:

The CPA has identified several outstanding issues requiring further clarification, specifically:

  1. The regulation applies to HSP marketed to consumers in Ontario but provides no definition of “consumer”. Many refillable propane cylinders are marketed to commercial enterprises only; there is no instruction as to whether these entities are considered “consumers” under the regulation.
  2. The requirements for call-in collection services need clarification. Category E is the only category not assigned volume thresholds triggering collection obligations. Propane marketers cannot be expected to provide call-in collection services for a few cylinders. 
  3. The regulation is to become effective shortly and we are expected to comply without much notice or clarity on the requirements.
  4. No clear direction to municipalities that they are no longer permitted to collect refillable propane cylinders.
  5. The reason for the duplication of regulatory oversight between the federal and Ontario governments this HSP regulation represents with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods, recertification of propane cylinders, and reporting requirements for haulers and processors.

A summary of these issues was sent to MOECP staff for follow-up by CPA President and CEO, Nathalie St-Pierre, on August 9, 2021.

The CPA and impacted members also expressed opposition to a proposed $7,500 flat fee for HSP registration services by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) in July 2021.

NEW – On August 25, the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority posted their final Fee Schedule and although not close to the $50 flat fee proposed by the CPA, RPRA decreased their flat fee for Category E from $7,500 to $1,000. 

The CPA will continue to work to have refillable propane containers exempted.  In the meantime, members will continue to be apprised of new developments on this file as they occur.