Financing recycling in Quebec: A legal obligation of companies
The Quebec government established this financial obligation, which came into effect in 2005, under the Environment Quality Act (EQA), more specifically the Regulation respecting compensation for municipal services provided to recover and reclaim residual materials. The purpose of the Act is to make companies accountable for the environmental impact of the materials they generate.
An eco-organization to assist you with your legal obligations
Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) is a private non-profit organization accredited by RECYC-QUÉBEC. Created as an industry initiative, ÉEQ’s mandate is to develop the Schedule of Contributions (which is used to calculate contributions), collect company contributions and forward the amounts to the government, which in turn redistributes them to municipalities.
Which companies are subject to the Act?The ÉEQ represents over 3,500 companies and organizations governed by the EQA. These entities come from various sectors and meet certain criteria defined in the legislation, namely:
- they own a brand, name or a distinguishing guise;
- they have a domicile or establishment in Quebec;
- they market products or services in Quebec, intended for Quebec consumers, and generate containers, packaging and printed matter.
Legal obligations of companies
Companies and organizations subject to the Act are required to register with the ÉEQ, report the quantities of containers, packaging and printed matter they put on Quebec’s market each year, and pay a financial contribution based on the quantity and type of materials generated, and the ÉEQ Schedule.
Note that some containers, packaging and printed matter covered by the Act are nevertheless excluded from the Schedule, i.e. from the reporting process. A complete list of materials covered by the Regulation is available on the ÉEQ website at ecoentreprises.qc.ca.
As with all legal obligations, companies and organizations that are non-compliant could be charged a penalty or face legal action.
The Schedule: A long-awaited document
The Schedule of Contributions is a decree that enables companies to determine whether they are subject to the Act and, if so, ascertain the amount of their contribution to the ÉEQ, i.e. the cost to pay for each kilogram of material put on Quebec’s market. The Schedule is developed using a formula based on studies and verifiable data (i.e. activity based costing), taking into account environmental criteria. The Schedule sets out a specific rate for each type of material.
The Schedule requires companies and organizations subject to the Act to implement a form of non-financial accounting to compile the quantities generated.
Small companies may qualify for contribution exemptions or lump-sum contributions to lighten their administrative burden.
Each year, the Schedule is presented to companies and organizations subject to the Act for consultation, put through a thorough approval process with the ÉEQ Board of directors and government authorities, and then published in the Gazette officielle du Québec.
Because of their knowledge, analytical skills and ability to see the big picture, CPAs are well equipped to advise their clients on compliance with their obligations under the Compensation Plan. The ÉEQ team is also available to answer questions and provide assistance and tools to facilitate the reporting process for companies.
For any questions or further information, please contact ÉEQ’s Company Services by phone at 1 877 987.1491 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or consult the “Information and Reporting” section of the ÉEQ website.
Marie Julie Bégin
Vice President, Compensation Plan
Éco Entreprises Québec