Canadian Plastics

Canadians reject Liberals plan to “reimagine” manufacturing, jobs, and waste management, survey says

The majority of Canadians support local decision-making over centralization of power in Ottawa, a survey conducted by manufacturing groups has found.

July 14, 2021   Canadian Plastics

Almost two-thirds of Canadian do not support the Canadian federal government’s plan to “reimagine” Canada by usurping provincial powers over manufacturing, job creation, and waste management systems.

The Canada Coalition of Plastic Producers (CCPP) released the results of a survey on July 13 asking Canadians if they want their provincial governments to retain the right to make decisions about what industries and jobs are allowed to exist and to continue to be responsible for waste management systems.

“[Prime Minister] Trudeau signaled at the United Nations last Fall that his government would use the COVID crisis as an ‘opportunity’ to reset Canada,” the CCPP said in a statement. “What exactly did he mean? We now have the first glimpse of what this will look like, and the majority of Canadians aren’t buying it.”

The federal government’s first target is the plastics sector, CCPP noted, and it has designated all plastic manufactured products as being toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). “Every product using plastic could be prohibited from manufacture, sale, export and import at the sole discretion of the Federal Minister of Environment,” CCPP said. “This draconian measure strips provinces of their constitutional powers over waste management and economic development.”

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Canada is the only country in the world to have declared plastic toxic.

According to an Oraclepoll telephone survey of 2,000 Canadians, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) want their provincial governments to retain the right to make decisions about what industries and jobs are allowed to exist, and almost seven in ten (69 per cent) want the provinces to continue to be responsible for waste management systems. “This sends a clear message that Canadians strongly prefer having their province in charge of building local solutions that meet local needs over a centralized, one-size-fits-all approach imposed by distant Ottawa,” CCPP said.

CCPP notes that five provinces representing 77 per cent of Canada’s population – Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan – have explicitly expressed opposition to this plan. “And challenges – both in the courts and under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – are anticipated,” they said.

“The Federal Government’s heavy-handed approach to strip power from the provinces is entirely unnecessary,” said Joe Hruska, spokesperson for the CCPP. “Since 2018, the provinces have been working collaboratively with the federal government to implement a Zero Plastic Waste Strategy. Considerable progress has been made across a number of initiatives including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), expanded blue box recovery, adoption of new recycling technologies, improvements to sorting systems; all to build a robust Circular Economy. The approach gives the provinces the flexibility needed to tailor solutions to their unique needs.”

Marc Robitaille, Quebec spokesperson for the Coalition, warns that “what we’ve seen so far in the ‘reimagined’ Canada is a recipe for economic disaster. Whole segments of our industry will be put out of business, thousands of jobs will be lost, investment will dry up.” Robitaille also explained that “The plan bans exports. The loss of Canadian and international markets will put Canadian manufacturers and distributors out of business and eliminate the jobs of employees that support their families.”

The telephone survey was completed between May 27 and June 4, with residents across Canada, 18 years of age or older. All surveys were conducted by live operators using computer-assisted techniques of telephone interviewing (CATI) and random number selection (RDD).

The national survey results are available online at this link.

Launched in early 2020, the CCPP brings together members of the plastic packaging supply chain, including both resin manufacturers and converters, to support the packaging industry. For more info, click on this link.


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