Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for your kind invitation.
I'm delighted to appear in person before you today on behalf of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, if only because I've just come from a meeting of our deputy ministers committee and one of the key items of discussion at that meeting was waste management. We're preparing for a ministers meeting in September. As a consequence of our discussions today, waste management is going to be on the ministers' agenda.
This is timely. There's a lot happening in Canada and internationally. There is no lack of innovative approaches, both from the public policy perspective and from the business perspective.
I'll take just a moment, if I may, to tell you about CCME. First of all, we're based in Winnipeg, not Ottawa, and have been in Winnipeg since 1990. The CCME is a private association formed by environment departments to facilitate ministers and their staff. We are not a regulator. We are not a legislator. Anything we agree to is implemented by each government within its own area of competency, but the keys to what we do and the keys to any success we may have had are that we operate on collaboration and by consensus. We marshal the resources of all member departments to undertake work as directed by ministers and deputy ministers. We're working on a number of priority areas, which obviously include air, air quality, water quality, contaminated sites, and, most recently, waste management.
I've said that collaboration is one of the keys to CCME. Environment ministers have long been interested and active in waste management. Some of the key actions that governments have undertaken through CCME are as follows.
In 1989, ministers agreed to establish a target for a 50% reduction of packaging waste in this country. The goal was 50% reduction in the course of 10 years through the very active involvement of all governments, the private sector, and civil society. That goal was achieved in 1996.
In 2009, the Canada-wide action plan for extended producer responsibility was agreed upon by all governments. All governments are now currently implementing EPR within their respective areas on a wide range of waste materials.
We have an agreement with some key industry leaders to reduce packaging even further. That includes Walmart, Kraft Foods, Norampac Cascades, Starbucks, and Tim Hortons. Also, we work very closely with the Retail Council of Canada, Food & Consumer Products of Canada, and the Packaging Association of Canada.
By now everyone has seen the rather dramatic graph from the Conference Board of Canada from last year, which indicated that Canada gets a D on municipal waste generation. It ranked Canada last in the OECD, even after the United States, embarrassingly, though they were close. There's no question that we can do better, but we also have to acknowledge some of the successes and achievements so far from all levels of government and our citizens. It's not the case that governments, business, consumers, and other stakeholders have been doing nothing.
Most significantly in the last five years, EPR as a major policy approach has been adopted right across the country and, as I said, is being implemented by every provincial and territorial government. Within Nova Scotia, 42% of the waste is now diverted to landfill. In British Columbia, it's 35%. In Quebec, 29% of waste is diverted. Quebec and Manitoba have landfill levies, which they use to fund new recycling infrastructure. In British Columbia, 23 programs for EPR have already been initiated and, according to British Columbia, have created approximately 2,400 jobs and diverted over 150,000 tonnes of garbage from landfills.
There is, of course, a hugely important economic aspect to waste management. The recycling industry tells us that 119,000 jobs are created by the recycling industry, which is 10 times more jobs and revenue than the disposal side of the equation. Problematically, municipal expenditures on waste management are increasing. Between 2008 and 2010, they increased by 12%, from $2.6 billion to $2.9 billion. In our landfills, we're disposing of over $1 billion annually in the market value of those materials.
You will have heard from other witnesses about the Conference Board of Canada's recent assessment that for Ontario, for example, increasing the rate of diversion from the current 23% to 60%, which admittedly is a significant leap, would create about 13,000 jobs and increase GDP by $1.5 billion. It isn't just federal-provincial-territorial governments that are concerned. Obviously municipal governments are very key stakeholders in this. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been instrumental in bringing municipal governments and stakeholders together in the National Zero Waste Council. I'm pleased to say that I'm involved as an adviser to that group.
Industry members in many sectors have accepted the responsibility of managing the life cycle of their products and are self-organizing to more efficiently develop and provide the services they require to meet government's expectations for extended producer responsibility. Major industry leaders like Walmart, Costco, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Metro stores are reshaping the way they do business, working to eliminate waste in all of its forms, and adding to their bottom line.
Last year ministers asked us as officials to develop more information for them on the state of waste management in Canada. We're currently fact-checking individual jurisdictional bits of information in that report, but it gives us a snapshot of what's going on in this country. We've identified some innovative practices in it and outlined some key challenges and opportunities for us within CCME, as federal, provincial, and territorial governments, to consider. The report itself is still being readied for public release, but I'd be very pleased to share it with the committee as soon as we have it ready. I think you'll find it of great interest and use in your deliberations.
You've heard a lot about the magnitude of the problem: 33 million tonnes of residential and non-residential waste per year. The four most populous provinces in this country have the highest total amount of waste disposed. Only about 24% of that is diverted. Nova Scotia has the lowest disposal rate, and Alberta has the highest. There's a direct correlation between municipal expenditures and the rate of diversion. Our study has indicated that quite clearly. Overall in Canada, diversion has stagnated. There's only been a 3 1/2% increase since 2000 while total disposal amounts are increasing.
We've tried to parse the really critical aspects of our particular study and then tried to focus on where we can have the most impact with the limited amount of resources and effort that we can apply to it. Two overarching observations from this particular study that we've done for ministers have really resonated with FPT governments and will be informing collaborative work amongst governments for the next while.
Two-thirds of the waste disposed in this country is non-residential. Approximately one-third of our residential waste is diverted, so that means one-third of one-third, while only 20% of our non-residential waste is diverted. Most of our efforts collectively, so far, have been focused on residential consumers and the waste that they generate, but that's not the biggest sector to address. It's important, and we have to continue to do the things we're doing, but we're trying to focus our efforts on the larger generators of waste.
Secondly, what's emerged—and you will have heard this from previous witnesses—is that lack of data is a real problem. It's a problem for governments; it's a problem for industry; it's a problem for all stakeholders in this area. Within CCME, we have defined the industrial, commercial, and institutional and the construction, renovation, and demolition sectors as our two priority areas of focus. Working with stakeholders from these sectors, we're going to start by identifying the key issues, gaps, barriers, and opportunities, so that we can identify or develop the tools and best practices that will support jurisdictions' actions. We're also very mindful of the particular circumstances of rural and remote regions. Not everything that works for large metropolitan centres works beyond their boundaries.
As well, organics waste will be receiving our attention. Biodegradable material, such as food and yard waste, constitutes approximately 40% of the residential waste stream in Canada and, based on an Ontario estimate, perhaps 20% of the non-residential waste stream. Most of that comes from the institutional and commercial sectors.