Arbitrator upholds Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority’s jurisdiction and decisions on steward costs

May 28, 2020

Stewardship of Ontario v. The Resource Productivity and Recover Authority

In a May 28, 2020 decision, Arbitrator Ronald G. Slaught found that the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (“RPRA”) acted within its contractual and statutory authority in setting the annual steward obligation to be paid by stewards, being the businesses that create the recyclable material that is the subject of Ontario’s blue box program. RPRA’s jurisdiction and the reasonableness of its decisions were challenged in an arbitration commenced by Stewardship Ontario (“SO”).

In 2019, SO disputed approximately $23 million of the 2019 Steward Obligation set by RPRA, asserting that RPRA had breached their Program Agreement, and operated without any jurisdiction conferred by any statute or legislative authority.

The Arbitrator found that RPRA had not breached its obligations outlined in the Program Agreement or the statutes as it had jurisdiction over the main issues raised by SO, and that the implementation of its authority was reasonable. As a result, the Arbitration dismissed SO’s claims for $22 million out of the $23 million challenged.

Adam Stephens (Administrative & Public Law) of Miller Thomson represented RPRA, the successful respondent, in the arbitration.