Canadian Council of Ministers
of the Environment

Le Conseil canadien des ministres
de l'environnement

Current Priorities

Zero Plastic Waste

Plastic waste and marine litter have emerged alongside climate change as a global environmental priority. In November 2018 environment ministers agreed to work collectively toward a common goal of zero plastic waste. To this end, they approved in principle a Strategy on zero plastic waste, which outlines a vision to keep all plastics in the economy and out of the environment.

‎The Strategy outlines areas where changes are needed across the plastic lifecycle, from design to collection, clean-up and value recovery, and underscores the economic and business opportunities resulting from long-lasting and durable plastics.

In June 2019 environment ministers approved Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste: Phase 1 to implement the Canada-wide Strategy for Zero Plastic Waste that lays out concrete measures to keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment. Phase 1 of the action plan focuses on: product design, single-use plastics, collection systems, recycling capacity and domestic markets. Federal, provincial and territorial governments worked together and with a broad range of stakeholders and interested parties to identify the following priority actions in phase 1 of the action plan:

  • Extended producer responsibility
  • Single-use and disposable products
  • National performance requirements and standards
  • Incentives for a circular economy
  • Infrastructure and innovation investments
  • Public procurement and green operations.

Phase 2 of the action plan will focus on preventing plastic pollution in oceans, inland lakes and waterways, advancing science to monitor the impacts of plastics pollution within the environment, consumer awareness, clean-up and taking global action. Ministers will consider phase 2 in 2020.