What we heard report from national forum on lamp disposal: introduction


The National Strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act, enacted in June 2017, requires the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop a National Strategy in cooperation with provinces, territories, other interested governments and stakeholders by June 2019.

As part of stakeholder consultations, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) convened a national forum on February 27 and 28, 2018 to begin collaboratively drafting the National Strategy. Fifty-four (54) participants attended the two day working meeting, held at the Delta City Centre in Ottawa. Participants included representatives from provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as industry and civil society from across the country. See Appendix A for the list of participants.

A discussion paper was circulated to participants in advance of the meeting to provide an overview of the current state of end-of-life management of lamps containing mercury in Canada, and to identify potential broad strategy goals.

Agenda overview

On the morning of the first day…

  • Member of Parliament Darren Fisher and ECCC representative Matt Hamilton welcomed participants to the forum and made the opening remarks, underlining the importance of developing a National Strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury.
  • ECCC representatives set the context for working sessions by presenting an overview of the proposed scope and potential elements of a National Strategy, as well as an overview of data and current recycling practices.
  • A panel of invited speakers concluded the morning by sharing important insights and lessons learned from current lamp recycling programs in Canada. Invited speakers were: Mannie Cheung, VP of Operations, Product Care AssociationFootnote 1 ; Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of OntarioFootnote 2 ; and Jennifer Court, Senior Director, Scout EnvironmentalFootnote 3 .

To maximize opportunities for participants to provide meaningful input on the development of the National Strategy, the remainder of the forum agenda featured working sessions focused on four potential strategy elements which were identified through stakeholder consultation and were:

  1. Public awareness, education and participation;
  2. Data, measurement, reporting and tracking;
  3. Best practices and guidance for environmentally sound end-of-life management; and
  4. Northern, remote and Indigenous communities.

During each of these working sessions, participants engaged in structured discussions at their tables to share insights on the current state and provide input on desired outcomes and priorities for the National Strategy. A pre-arranged seating plan for the event ensured a broad range of perspectives for each table discussion. Following their discussions, each table group posted their top three recommendations on the wall to be reviewed by their peers. Participants were invited to read the recommendations made by other table groups, provide their comments, and indicate where they felt strongly in favour of a recommendation. Each working session was then concluded with a plenary discussion that identified the common threads or themes emerging from the recommendations.

In the fifth and final working session on the path forward, participants were asked to provide input on a vision for the National Strategy, top overall priorities, and what needs to be done to engage all stakeholders in the development of the strategy.

A summary of the forum discussions follows. To read the full list of participant recommendations, refer to Appendix B.

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