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Ontario Enhancing Blue Box Program

Province bringing recycling to more communities and expanding list of blue bin items

June 03, 2021

Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks

 TORONTO — Following extensive consultations, the Ontario government is improving blue box recycling by expanding service to more communities, standardizing the list of materials that can be recycled across the province and saving municipalities money by making producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the cost and operation of the program.

“Producers and municipalities have been advocating for an enhanced, producer-led Blue Box program for over a decade and I’m proud that our government has finalized these improvements,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Our goal is to ensure our program remains convenient, affordable and right for communities. That’s why we are creating a stronger and more effective blue box service that will have some of the highest waste diversion targets in North America to promote greater innovations in recycling technologies and increased use of recycled materials.”

The enhanced Blue Box program will make recycling easier for Ontarians by:

Expanding collection to all communities outside the Far North by 2026;

Standardizing what can be recycled across Ontario;

Accepting common single-use and packaging-like products such as paper and plastic cups, foils, trays, bags and boxes sold for home use;

Collecting single-use items that are distributed or sold to consume food and beverage products, like stir sticks, straws, cutlery and plates;

Expanding services to more facilities such as apartment buildings, municipally run or non-profit long-term care homes and retirement homes, and schools.

The province is also expanding collection to more parks, playgrounds, and transit stations, more than tripling the number of public space recycling bins funded under the current program so there are more opportunities to recycle at home and on the go.

The changes to the program will also transition the costs of the Blue Box program away from municipal taxpayers by making the producers of products and packaging fully responsible for managing the life-cycle of their products, resulting in an estimated savings of $156 million annually for municipalities.

“Our government is supporting the people of Ontario by moving accountability for recycling costs away from the taxpayer,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are proud to support these changes that will help divert waste and protect our environment while putting money back in the pockets of people who live and work in this province.”

Combining 253 local programs into a single provincial collection system managed by producers will improve recycling operations across the province, encouraging producers to find efficiencies that will make recycling simpler and easier for residents, while also driving innovation in recycling practices and technologies by rewarding producers who make their products easier to recycle and can derive more value from waste – fueling job creation and attracting investment right here in Ontario.

The transition to the enhanced Blue Box program will be staggered from 2023 to 2025 to ensure a smooth transition for municipalities and producers, so there is no interruption to service for residents. Some of the first municipalities scheduled to adopt the new producer model include Kenora, London, Toronto and the Town of Hawkesbury.

Reducing plastic waste and litter and making producers responsible for managing waste from packaging or their products is a key part of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. Ontario remains committed to balancing a healthy economy with a healthy environment and keeping Ontario clean and beautiful.

Quick Facts

Ontario’s overall waste diversion rate has stalled and about 70 per cent of our waste materials continue to end up in landfills.

The transition of municipalities to the new Blue Box program will be staggered to ensure stable transition for communities and balance costs and facilitate economies of scale for producers. The rollout schedule can be found here.

Ontarians will not see any disruption in their blue box services. Communities already participating in curbside blue box collection will continue to receive the service as they transition to the new producer-run model, including those with populations under 5,000.

This new framework ensures programs already having a positive impact on the environment, like the Beer Store’s deposit return program, can continue under the new producer responsibility model.

“These changes to the Blue Box program reflect the most important advances in waste diversion since the program was created two decades ago. It will save property taxpayers $150 million a year and lead to better, more innovative and sustainable packaging practices.”

– Graydon Smith, President of Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO)

“Keurig Dr Pepper Canada applauds the Ontario Government’s policy to expand and improve the recycling system in the province. By including items like recyclable coffee pods, Ontario’s blue box program will ensure more waste is diverted from the landfills and made part of the circular economy. Our company is committed to reducing packaging waste by focusing on innovative design, increased recovery and use of recycled materials. We look forward to working with municipalities across the province to build a more sustainable Ontario for years to come.”

– Stephane Glorieux, President, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada


PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO, MAY 26, 2021 –Parks Canada advises that the Trent-Severn Waterway is scheduled to re-open for navigation on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 9 a.m.

As part of Parks Canada’s ongoing effort to combat COVID-19 and in the interests of the health and safety of all Canadians, visitors, and Parks Canada team members, all visitors (boaters and landbased) are required to adhere to the following while visiting our sites:

· Lockage: Boaters are expected to be in full care and control of their vessels and to maintain 2 meters distance from staff and other boaters at all times during lockage. Mask use is mandatory within 2 metres of staff or visitors. Boaters requiring assistance with lockage must identify their concerns to lockstaff prior to entering the chamber. Boaters must at all times follow instructions from lockstaff who are always readily available to ensure a safe and efficient experience for all visitors.

· Mask Mandatory for Service: Mask use is mandatory for visitors in situations where they will be within 2 meters of Parks Canada team members or other visitors, including if they require assistance when locking through. Masks are also required for the use of washrooms at lock stations and during sales transactions.

· Maintain Social Distancing: Visitors must respect the safety of others at all times by maintaining their distance from other visitors and Parks Canada team members. Please respect the roped-off areas on the lock walls that provide a safe working space for our staff.

· No Large Gatherings: Gatherings that are not consistent with provincial COVID-1 9restrictions are prohibited on Parks Canada lands along the Trent-Severn Waterway.

· Use Cashless Payment: For the purchase of permits, please use cashless payment whenever possible.

Also, please be advised that operation of the Peterborough Lift Lock will be available on a modified basis starting on May 28, 2021, with an anticipated return to full operation by the end of June 2021. In order to transit as many vessels per day as possible, lockages will scheduled, allowing for one complete transfer up and down per day. Boaters will be asked to disembark their vessels while the transfer is underway.

Boaters wishing additional information to aid with trip planning can contact us via email at pc.trentsevern.pc@canada.ca

For the most up-to-date information regarding our facilities and services, please visit us online at  www.pc.gc.ca/trent or follow us on social media @TrentSevernNHS

Province Provides Funding to Two Ontario Universities to Support Forestry Research

Cutting-edge technology will advance research commitments under Forest Sector Strategy

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

 TORONTO — Ontario has entered into collaborative research agreements with McMaster University and the University of Toronto to help promote healthy, resilient and sustainable forests while supporting the forest industry.

A collaborative project with McMaster University will study the effects of a changing climate on forest growth, and a collaborative project with the University of Toronto will research the effect of the eastern spruce budworm in Ontario’s boreal forests.

“These collaborative research agreements with McMaster University and the University of Toronto are tremendous steps forward in research to sustain forests and the forest industry in Ontario,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “The research will not only further our understanding of environmental pressures on Ontario’s forests by harnessing leading technology, but also ensure Ontario’s forests remain healthy today and for future generations.”

These investments align with the province’s commitment under Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy to support applied research and monitoring to inform evidence-based decision-making and policy.


A collaborative research agreement with Hamilton’s McMaster University, valued at $45,000 over three years, will make use of a subset of artificial intelligence called machine-based learning to create a model to better understand the effects of climate change on Ontario’s forest growth and yield.

Machine-based learning uses computer technology to analyze large volumes of diverse data to reveal patterns, trends, and relationships that are difficult to identify using traditional analysis methods.

The research agreement will help Ontario further refine our practices of sustainable forest management, and it will supply the forest industry with updated growth and yield information needed to carry out forest management planning and wood supply analysis.

“There is a growing interest in considering climate change effects in forest management activities. Through this partnership, we are leveraging 70+ years of Ontario growth and yield program data on forest site conditions, soil properties and stand structure across the province,” said Alemu Gonsamo, Assistant Professor at McMaster University’s School of Earth, Environment & Society.


A collaborative research agreement with the University of Toronto, valued at $56,000 over three years, will assess the effect of the eastern spruce budworm in Ontario’s boreal forests, to mitigate timber losses in support of the forest sector.

The research will involve applying remote sensing satellite technology to analyze and model tree mortality caused by eastern spruce budworm in Ontario’s forests to support forest management planning.

The eastern spruce budworm is one of the most widespread and destructive pests in Ontario, capable of affecting millions of hectares of boreal forest.

“This work will improve our ability to accurately map where and when budworm outbreaks are occurring, which will be key to addressing other research questions related to forest health, wildfire risk, and forest management,” said Patrick James, Associate Professor at the Institute of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Toronto.

 Quick Facts

The forest sector generates approximately $18 billion in revenue and supports approximately 143,000 direct and indirect jobs across Ontario.

Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy includes a commitment to conduct applied research and best science. This research is used to support forest management policies and planning.

Forest companies in Ontario are regulated by some of the world’s strictest standards to ensure sustainable forest management.

FedDev Ontario invests in tourism in Grey and Simcoe counties, Barrie and Orillia

$1.2 million to provide direct support to 100 tourism-dependent businesses and maintain 225 jobs in the region

Tourism is essential to the vitality of businesses and communities in Grey and Simcoe counties and the cities of Barrie and Orillia, with millions of visitors traditionally drawn to the area’s attractions such as ski hills, beaches and wineries each year. The sector has been hit hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and tourism-related businesses are working hard to build back stronger.

Today, June 8, 2021, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages), announced a non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $1.2 million to support the tourism industry’s recovery across the Counties of Grey and Simcoe and the cities of Barrie and Orillia.

With this investment, Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7) is providing tourism-dependent businesses with up to $20,000 in non-repayable contributions to support costs associated with adapting and eventually reopening, such as space renovations and retrofits, the purchase of equipment, fixtures and personal protective equipment (PPE), and support for technology and digitization. The fund is being delivered in partnership with Grey County, the City of Barrie, the City of Orillia and the County of Simcoe. It is expected to support 100 businesses and maintain 225 jobs.

One example of a business that has been assisted by RTO7 is Travel by Sound—created by Victoria Yeh, Meaford-based electric violinist, artistic director, and long-time advocate for the region. This six-episode series of virtual concerts filmed at concert halls across Grey and Simcoe counties features tours and adventures throughout the region. With support from RTO7, Victoria was able to improve the video quality for the series, access business consulting services and develop a competitive business strategy, all while keeping her brand relevant and building her fan base.

Another example is IWA Spa in the Blue Mountains. With support from RTO7, IWA Spa was able to obtain PPE for staff and guests and install measures to support social distancing, such as directional signage and sneeze guards. These new additions will enable the spa to reopen in a safe manner.

The tourism sector continues to demonstrate its resilience by adapting to challenges and seeking opportunities for recovery and growth. The Government of Canada is working to support these businesses and communities by helping to maintain jobs and prepare the tourism sector for a strong comeback.

Quick Facts

Businesses served by RTO7 historically see more than 10 million tourists each year. There are nearly 9,200 tourism-oriented businesses within the region.  

This project is part of a series of investments across southern Ontario totaling $14.8 million to support the region’s tourism sector in adapting to the impacts of COVID-19, including $250,000 for Bruce County announced in 2020.

Since November 1, 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $165 million in nearly 500 tourism-related projects. This includes over $93 million for 322 Regional Relief and Recovery Fund projects. 

In November 2020, FedDev Ontario announced over $10 million in support for 278 businesses and organizations across the Bruce Grey Simcoe region through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, protecting nearly 1,200 local jobs. This funding has supported the immediate needs of a broad range of businesses, from main street businesses such as retail shops and restaurants, to tourism operators, resorts and bed and breakfasts.

Subject to parliamentary approval, Budget 2021 proposes $500 million over two years through the Tourism Relief Fund for local tourism businesses to adapt their products and services to public health measures, recover from the pandemic and position themselves for growth; and $200 million over two years to support major festivals and events. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these measures will be delivered by the regional development agencies, including FedDev Ontario in southern Ontario.

Ontario Recognizing Outstanding Bravery of Paramedics 13 Paramedics Honoured with the Ontario Award for 

Paramedic Bravery

TORONTO — The province is honouring paramedics with the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery. This award is given to paramedics who performed individual acts of outstanding bravery in the face of danger.

Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, are presenting the awards to 13 individuals in a virtual ceremony, honouring 11 recipients from nominations submitted in 2019 and two recipients from 2020.

“Paramedics are on the frontlines when it comes to protecting our communities and saving lives. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen paramedics performing incredible acts of service and generosity,” said Premier Doug Ford. “From assisting with the vaccine rollout to alleviating hospital capacity by helping with home care, they have been here to support us every step of the way. On behalf of everyone in Ontario, I want to thank each of them for their service and congratulate this year’s winners of the Paramedic Bravery Awards. You are true heroes.”

“As we celebrate Paramedic Services Week in Ontario, I am honoured to recognize the 13 recipients who have shown exceptional courage in dangerous and often life-threatening circumstances,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Every day and especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, paramedics have consistently stepped up to protect the health and wellbeing of Ontarians in their time of need. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all of Ontario’s paramedics for their incredible work and for being there when your communities need you the most.”

The recipients are being recognized for their individual acts of courage, including saving a swimmer from drowning, rescuing a trapped driver from a vehicle, delivering medical treatment to a patient in a confined space and rescuing a mother and her two children from a residential fire.

Paramedics have played a critical role in Ontario’s fight against COVID-19, from conducting swabbing and testing, protecting health system and hospital capacity by supporting patient transfers, and they continue to support Ontario’s vaccine rollout, including administering vaccines to individuals who have limited mobility and cannot travel to a mass immunization clinic.

“I would like to thank Premier Ford and Minister Elliott for taking time to recognize the bravery of these paramedics who went beyond their call of duty,” said Peter Dundas, President of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs. “These paramedics put patients first and demonstrated fearless dedication to saving lives. They exemplify the virtues of this award and what it means to be a paramedic stepping up to serve their community every day. Congratulations to all.”

 Quick Facts

Paramedic Services Week is celebrated across Canada from May 23 to 29, 2021. The theme for Paramedic Services Week 2021 is Paramedic as an Educator – Citizen Ready and demonstrates the important role that paramedics play as educators to the public.

Since its inauguration in 2015, 56 paramedics have received the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery.

Any Ontario paramedic is eligible to receive the award for an act of exceptional courage that has occurred within the last 24 months. It may be bestowed posthumously.

There are over 9,400 paramedics currently employed in Ontario, the largest group of paramedics in Canada.

The Ontario government has invested $15 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program to provide additional care for seniors. Additionally, through innovative 9-1-1 models of care pilots across the province, paramedics are able to care for patients in their community.

Additional Resources

Recipients of Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery

Ontario’s Honours and Awards for Bravery

Recipients of Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery

Ontario Expanding Existing Community Paramedicine Programs to Long-Term Care

Ontario Expanding Innovative Models to Deliver Better, Connected Care

Ontario Maximizing Critical Care Capacity to Support Hospitals

Going for a hike outside Toronto just got a little cheaper if you’re able to get out of the city on a weekday

   Ontario announced Friday it’s offering free day-use passes at provincial parks this summer from Monday to Thursday.

   The free permits will be available at 115 parks from June 7 to September 2, 2021. Guests still need to obtain a vehicle permit even on days when day passes are free.

   “Getting outdoors and spending time in nature can have many positive benefits on our physical and mental health this summer, as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, said in a news release.

   Ontario has also created a new system so hikers can reserve a vehicle permit up to five days in advance at 17 of the province’s busiest parks. In the past, guests needed to line up in their car and buy the permit at the park entrance. Advance permits will be available for:

Batchawana Bay
Forks of the Credit
Kakabeka Falls
Kettle Lakes
Lake Superior
Long Point
Mono Cliff
North Beach
Sibbald Point
Turkey Point

Starting June 7, Ontarians can check how many vehicle permits are available per day on the reservation website.

With public health officials encouraging outdoor activities as a way to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, people have been flocking to parks, beaches, and hiking trails. Ontario said provincial park visits increased 5% from 2019 to 2020 and more than 11 million people went to a provincial park last year.

Provincial parks are currently open to locals for day-use activities such as walking and hiking. People will be able to camp again when Ontario reaches Step 1 of its reopening plan, which is forecast for June 14.