Extended Producer Responsibility

In Canada, both “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) and “product stewardship” programs are used to manage products at their end-of-life.

An EPR program specifically identifies end-of-life management of products as the responsibility of producers (e.g., brand owners, first importers or manufacturers), whereas a "product stewardship" program generally allocates responsibility to provincial or municipal governments. 

The main difference between the two approaches is that funding for EPR programs is provided by producers. Costs can be internalized as a factor of production or may be passed on to consumers.

In contrast, under a product stewardship program, legislated environmental fees and/or public funds are commonly used as a funding base. Product stewardship programs usually do not allocate financial responsibility to producers.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), through the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility, supports the move towards greater producer responsibility, including work towards transforming "product stewardship" initiatives into full EPR programs.

For more information on EPR programs and policies, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of our Website or visit the Inventory of Programs for a list of EPR and product stewardship initiatives in Canada.