As the industry considers how to deal with end-of-life EV batteries, take note of these Extended Producer Responsibility trends to watch in 2022
This article is Partner Content presented by Dentons
This year brings uncertainty, adaptation to the “new” normal of a world learning to live with COVID-19 and the increased, urgent focus on climate change following COP26 marks a watershed moment in the area of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in Canada.
EPR is a waste management model that incentivizes producers to incorporate environmental considerations into the design, manufacturing and management of their products, with the goal of reducing waste in landfills and maintaining a sustainable life cycle for products. The programs are established under provincial legislation, meaning there is no standardized system across Canada. The provinces have taken individual approaches to implementing their own EPR systems.
While the general EPR trend across Canada represents a positive step towards sustainable waste management, this patchwork approach complicates compliance, particularly with the projected increase in battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Growth of Battery EPR in Canada – Considerations for Electric Vehicles
Provincial legislation concerning the collection, processing, recycling and disposal of used batteries varies across Canada.
In October 2021, Quebec announced its intention to impose minimum rates for recovery and recycling on the producers of electric vehicle batteries, small batteries and lead-acid batteries. The passing of this legislation would make Quebec the first jurisdiction in North America to impose such regulations on the recycling of electric vehicle batteries. It is of particular interest because Quebec is already a national leader in EV adoption and, if trends continue, will be one of the first provinces to feel the impact of significant battery recycling demand.
Quebec’s enhanced battery EPR is part of the province’s plan to promote electrification while protecting the environment and resources by increasing recovery and enhancement of these products at the end-of-life stage. Public consultation on the proposed regulation ended in November 2021. In 2022, stakeholders, may get their first opportunity to see the practical effects that this EPR program will have on the electric vehicle industry in the province.
Implementation of battery-related EPR in B.C.
In September 2021 British Columbia announced the EPR Five-Year Action Plan for the province, which looks to expand the recyclable products subject to EPR, including (but not limited to) electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and electric-vehicle chargers. Development of an EPR program for electric vehicle batteries in the province is a significant and necessary development: by 2040, all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in British Columbia will be zero-emission vehicles. The EPR Five-Year Action Plan looks to implement a consistent provincewide system to repurpose and recycle these hybrid and electric vehicle batteries. While other vehicle components are already regulated and managed by producers, including tires, oil, and antifreeze, producers of electric and hybrid vehicles will have to factor in the cost and responsibility for the entire lifecycle of the electric vehicles batteries produced, including collection and recycling.
The province’s battery recycling sector is already familiar with processing electric vehicle batteries, however changes under the EPR Action Plan will be phased in from 2021 to 2026 to give producers time to set up the necessary systems.
There is a clear trend in Canada for 2022 to see substantial expansion of EPR programs to deal with end-of-life batteries from the electric vehicle industry. While only certain provinces have plans to implement these programs in the near future, it is possible the other provinces will soon follow suit, learning from the early adopters in the process.
As these developments continue, producers should stay up to date to ensure compliance with the various responsibilities being imposed across Canada. Dentons Canada will continue to track these developments and provide updates. Stay on top of these developments with all insights and guidance from our Regulatory team by visiting our Canada Regulatory Review blog here and signing up for future alerts here.To read other articles in the Dentons’ pick of Canadian Regulatory Trends to Watch in 2022 series, click here.