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1.10 How do I determine if my business or organization is responsible as the brand owner, franchisor or first importer?

To determine if your business or organization is responsible for packaging and/or paper product (PPP) supplied to residential consumers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario, you will need to determine if it is the responsible brand owner, franchisor, or first importer of PPP in the province.

The brand owner, if resident in the province, is responsible for the PPP associated with its brands of products supplied either directly or indirectly to residential consumers.

If the brand owner is not resident in the province, the first importer is the responsible party.

A franchisor is an organization that is the registrant or licensee of a trademark, or owns or is a licensee of intellectual property rights of a trademark. A franchisor is responsible to report and pay fees for all material supplied by its franchise systems to consumers in those provinces.

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1.10.1 What is a brand owner?

A brand owner is an organization or company that is the registrant of a trademark. If the brand/trademark is unregistered, then the organization or company that owns the intellectual property rights to the brand/ trademark is the “brand owner”. If a brand owner is resident in the province, then it is the steward of the PPP associated with its brands supplied to residential consumers in the province (whether or not the products are supplied by a licensee of the brand owner or a distributor or retailer, or supplied directly by the brand owner to the residential consumer). Non-resident brand owners may be allowed to become voluntary stewards but are not obligated as stewards.

If a brand owner is not resident but the licensee of the brand owner is resident in the province, the licensee of the brand becomes the steward of PPP associated with the brand. If there is a licensee and a sub-licensee of the brand and both are resident in the province, then the party more closely connected to the production or packaging of the PPP associated with the product will be the steward of the brand in that province.

In some cases, the non-resident brand owner is the steward but has little or no direct involvement with the product carrying its brand name (because the brand owner is not required to be the supplier of the product). In these cases, the licensee of the brand may act as the steward by signing a voluntary steward agreement.

1.10.2 Franchisors Obligated for Franchise System

A franchisor is the steward for PPP supplied by its franchisees. This applies to franchisors with headquarters located inside or outside of the respective province and applies to franchise locations corporately owned or independently owned by franchisees. Franchisors are responsible for reporting and paying fees for the PPP supplied by their franchise systems to consumers in BC, SK, MB and/or ON.

1.10.3 What is a first importer?

A first importer is a company that is the first to take possession or control of products entering a province from outside of the province. The first importer of a brand becomes the obligated steward of PPP associated with imported goods if the brand owner is not resident in the province and there is no voluntary steward for the brand (as outlined in Section 1.8) in the province.

1.10.4 Who is the responsible party for service packaging?

Amendments to the BC Recycling Regulation announced in September 2020 designated Single-Use Products and Packaging-Like Products. As a result, there is a change in the obligated party required to report and pay fees for Service Packaging in BC. The obligated party for service packaging shifts from the “filler” who previously reported such packaging supplied to consumers at point of sale, to either the brand owner, first importer or franchisor of the packaging that is ultimately supplied to consumers in British Columbia. If the service packaging carries a brand it will remain the obligation of the brand owner. Please refer to this Explanatory Note on the Recycle BC website for more information.

In the MMSW, MMSM and Stewardship Ontario programs, service packaging, which may or may not bear a brand and is supplied at the point of sale by retail, food service or other service providers to facilitate the delivery of goods, is the responsibility of the ‘filler’ or the party supplying the service packaging to the consumer.

The following table provides examples of the legally obligated steward in different scenarios.

Examples Responsible Party
Registered brand
  • Company A is resident in British Columbia and holds the registered trademark/brand.
Company A as the resident brand owner in BC.
Unregistered brand
  • Company A in Ontario holds the intellectual property rights to an unregistered brand.
Company A as the brand owner in ON.
More than one brand on package or printed material
  • Company A and Company B , both resident in Manitoba, have one product they jointly supply where the packaging and printed material displays both of their brands. Company A is more involved with the packaging and printed material than Company B.
Company A as the brand owner in MB.
No identifiable brand on package or printed material
  • Company A in Saskatchewan is the first to take control of the imported product where the packaging bears no identifiable brand.
Company A as the first importer.
Resident has Licensing Agreement with non-resident brand owner
  • Company A is not resident in Ontario and holds the intellectual property rights to the brand; Company B is resident in Ontario and is licensee of Company A ’s brand(s).
Company B as the resident brand owner in ON.
First importer
  • Company A imports products into Manitoba and is the first to take control of the imported products. The brand owner is not a resident of Manitoba.
Company A as the resident first importer.
Affiliated companies
  • Company A owns Company B and Company C . Companies B and C are affiliated with each other and owned by Company A.
  • Company A is resident in Ontario and supplies PPP to retailers who in turn supply these materials to consumers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
  • Subsidiary B is resident in British Columbia. Subsidiary C is resident in Saskatchewan
As affiliated companies, Company A , B , and C must file a single report for all PPP supplied to residential consumers in BC, SK and Ontario. The Recycle BC report will include company B sales. The MMSW report will capture company C sales, and the Stewardship Ontario report will capture company A, B and C sales as affiliated companies gain residency via their parent organization.
Affiliated companies outside of Canada
  • Company X , resident in the USA, is the parent to Company Y resident in Manitoba and Company Z resident in Ontario.
  • Both Company Y and Z supply PPP into Manitoba and Ontario.
Company Y and Z are considered affiliates as they are owned by the same entity. Therefore, both Y and Z must report under a single account.

If Company X, resident in USA, starts to supply the same brand as company Y or Z directly to residential consumers in provinces where stewardship obligations exist (ON, MB), the brand will need to be reported in the provinces where Company Y and Z have residency respectively.
Franchisor and franchisees
  • Company A is a franchisor with residency in British Columbia with franchisees located in British Columbia.
Company A as the franchisor is responsible for the entire BC franchise system.
Franchisor and franchisees
  • Company A is a franchisor and is not resident in British Columbia and has franchisees located in British Columbia
Company A as the franchisor is responsible for the entire BC franchise system.
Franchisor and franchisees
  • Company B is a franchisor located in the US with a franchise system operating in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
Company B as the franchisor is responsible to report and pay fees for PPP supplied by all three franchise systems.

Service packaging without a brand

Company A is resident in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario and supplies plastic bags to residential consumers at point of sale. The bags  have no brand but are manufactured by another resident company. (Company B). [NOTE: packaging provided at point of sale is called service packaging.]

Company A is responsible for all of the service packaging it supplies to residential consumers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario at point of sale (service packaging) .

Service packaging with a brand

Company A is resident in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario and supplies plastic bags to residential consumer at point of sales. The bags carry the brand name of the bag manufacturer (Company B). [NOTE: packaging provided at point of sale is called service packaging.]

Company A is responsible for all of the service packaging it supplies to residential consumers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario at point of sale (service packaging). 

Branded service packaging supplied in British Columbia

Company M is a quick service restaurant in BC that supplies take-out food containers to consumers branded with its name.  The take-out food containers are provided to Company M by Company O.

Company M is the responsible steward for the take-out food containers (service packaging) supplied to consumers in British Columbia that bears its brand name.

Unbranded service packaging supplied in British Columbia

Company A is a retailer in British Columbia and supplies plastic produce bags to residential consumers that bear no brand name.  The bags are supplied to Company A by resident bag manufacturer Company B.

Company B is the responsible steward for all service packaging supplied directly or indirectly to consumers that it manufactured where the packaging does not bear a brand. If Company A puts their brand on the produce bags, Company A become the responsible steward for the produce bags.

Manufacturer of private label brands
  • Company A manufactures private label goods on behalf of company B.
Company B as the brand owner of the private label goods.
Warehouse/distributor (as a third party)
  • Company A is the brand owner and is resident in Ontario and ships product to a warehouse or distributor in Ontario. The warehouse or distributor fills orders on behalf of Company A .
Company A as brand owner.
Drug Store
  • Company A is a pharmacy that is resident in Manitoba and dispenses Company B ’s brands of prescription medication by removing it from Company B ’s bulk container and putting the pills into Company A ’s service packaging (e.g. plastic pill bottles).
Company A is responsible for all service packaging it supplies in MB.

 

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