Alberta minister promises EPR exemption for Alberta newspapers

The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) shared some good news with their members late last week: the province’s environment minister promised an EPR exemption for newspapers distributed in the province.

A delegation of AWNA officials, including past president Evan Jamison, president Lisa Sygutek and executive director Dennis Merrell, met with minister Rebecca Schulz last September to brief her on EPR’s impact on community newspapers.

Schulz sent a follow-up letter to Evan Jamison this week, letting us know that she intends to exempt Alberta-produced newspapers from EPR financial obligations, which “may include future amendments to the EPR Regulation.” Newspapers are a successful recycling product and serve an important societal function. I hear your concerns about how EPR could negatively affect your members and understand newspapers face many challenges, including revenue, online platforms, inflationary pressures, and lack of a solid digital-only model to provide general news in most Alberta communities. I also appreciate the efforts of Alberta’s newspaper industry to support positive environmental outcomes by light-weighting paper and printing only the number of pages and copies needed for each edition,” the Minister added. She advised that the Environment ministry will continue collaborating with its partners to make certain Alberta’s new EPR system is well designed. Other provinces, including Ontario, have also exempted newspapers from their EPR programs. Some other provinces, such as B.C. and Saskatchewan, have yet to grant exemptions to newspapers. Industry levies could reach as high as $4 million this year in B.C. alone.