EDMONTON, AB –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Yesterday, the Government of Alberta unveiled its new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulation. The regulations apply to packaging as well as to products such as newspapers. Literary books and textbooks are exempted from the regulation.
“We are strongly supportive of the Alberta government’s objectives of reducing unnecessary packaging and waste,” said Dennis Merrell, executive director of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association. “Unfortunately, the capture of newspaper in the regulation fails to recognize that newspaper is the product, not the packaging, and effectively subsidizes actual waste producers at the expense of local news.
“Given that newspaper is the product and not the packaging, like books, we believe newspapers should be granted an exemption,” added Mr. Merrell. “An exemption would protect the journalism that so many Albertans continue to rely on to stay connected to their communities, our province, and the world.”
Until recently in Ontario, EPR programs in most provinces of Canada treated newspapers the same as waste packaging. Unlike product packaging, the newspaper is the product. Publishers have moved to thinner paper to lower our footprint. Driving up the cost of newspaper production with EPR fees drives down the content as newspapers are forced to cut pages and, therefore, value to readers. The knock-on effects are a loss of jobs in a sector that is already facing many external challenges, and a less informed citizenry.
“Newspapers have always been a public good; the dissemination of news to the public is a necessary element of a vibrant and healthy democracy and a well-functioning society,” said Paul Deegan, president and chief executive officer of News Media Canada. “EPR levies on newspapers are bad public policy, and we urge Alberta to follow Ontario’s lead and exempt newspapers.”
“Alberta’s regulation is misguided and based on a flawed premise that newspapers are waste packaging, and it puts newspapers at risk at a time when the public needs trusted sources of information more than ever before,” added Mr. Deegan.
About the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association
The AWNA is a not-for-profit trade association. Today there are over 90 member newspapers throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories. They boast a combined verified circulation of 630,000+.
About News Media Canada
News Media Canada is the voice of the print and digital news media industry in Canada and represents hundreds of trusted titles in every province and territory.