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Manufacturers and distributors who first place medical sharps on the market in Ontario and PEI have the following obligations:
Producers may either establish their own program to fulfil their obligations or join a compliance scheme operating a collective program. There are severe penalties for non-compliance with the regulations. The PEI Environment Protection Act imposes fines of up to $50,000 and 90 days imprisonment. The Ontario Environmental Protection Act imposes fines of up to $250,000 on a first conviction and $500,000 for subsequent convictions.
Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA), a not-for-profit organization funded by member producers, established the Ontario Sharps Collection Program in 2012 and the Island Sharps Collection Program in 2015 for producers to collectively manage the requirements of sharps regulations in a cost-effective way. Members contribute to the costs of running the programs based on retail sales tonnage reports for every calendar year. Reports must be submitted to HPSA by the end of February each year.
Extended producer responsibility legislation for medical sharps is relatively new, but the model used in Ontario and PEI is likely to spread to other provinces. Legislation is already planned or under consideration in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Companies should follow regulatory developments and ensure they have a robust system in place to report on weights of sharps placed on the market by province.