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Waste Management Services In Canada – Main Features/Trends

Waste management services in Canada are influenced by regulations and rules put in place by all the three levels of Canadian governments. However, in Canada, waste management is regulated at the level of the respective provinces. All waste management activities must be in compliance with the Environmental Protection Act requirements.

It is estimated that annually, Canadians generate in excess of 30 million tonnes of general/non-hazardous waste. This comes to over a tonne of garbage for each Canadian man, woman and kid. According to the Conference Board of Canada report, compared to any other member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, per capita, Canadians dispose of more municipal solid waste.

Here are several key features and trends.

Responsible Bodies/Agencies

The legislation that governs the management of waste in Canada is quite complex as there are so many rules. The system of waste management services in Canada is complex as it has different regulations, acts, mandates and varying levels of government involvement. Federal, provincial and municipal governments all have varying responsibility levels in terms of reducing and managing waste.

In partnership with Transport Canada, Environment Canada is also responsible for dictating and monitoring how wastes materials get across borders and between provinces.

Disposal of Toxic Waste & Waste Water

Wastewater or sewage coming from businesses and homes is generally treated at/and discharged from respective treatment facilities spread throughout the different provinces. These treatment facilities vary in ownership type, size/capacity, and treatment level. The majority of the large scale treatment facilities found in the provinces are operated and owned by provincial governments or municipalities.

Releasing into the environment of toxic substances is prohibited by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Waste that is released into open water must be done in compliance the Fisheries Act provisions which make it illegal for anyone to release hazardous substances into water bodies that fish frequent.
Waste Treatment

Current practices in waste management services are shifting towards usage of best technology in attempts at reducing the quantities of hazardous and toxic waste being produced in the first place.

At present, treatments processes are well established in most Canadian industrial operations, where on-site partial or full treatments are being carried out with the goal of reducing bulk to be transported. Treatment implementation across Canada appears to be on the rise along with an emphasis in the application of the environmental “4-Rs” - recycling, reusing, reducing, and recovering.


Waste management and recycling should ideally be implemented as more of a resource management system, and not just as a waste management system. Towards ensuring wholesome recycling system that is functioning optimally, governments must facilitate for recycling services which, over the long range, will also sustain all parts of the entire cycle and not just the waste collection. The Revolution Resource Recovery website may provide additional insights if you need more information.

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