We welcome The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson to the solutions-focused Ocean Plastics session.
The Zero Waste Conference is pleased to welcome The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, to the Keynote Conversation in the Solving the Plastics Challenge in One Generation session.
CANADIAN LEADERSHIP ON PLASTIC POLLUTION
The Government of Canada made international news last week with the announcement of the next phase in a plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. With a discussion paper now out for public comment, Canada is one step closer to banning single-use plastic items.
â€œCanadians see the effects of plastic pollution in their communities and waterways and they expect the Government to take action â€¦ Our plan embraces the transition towards a circular economy, recycled-content standards and targets for recycling rates â€¦ This proposed ban will help drive innovation across the country as new and easier to recycle items take their place in our economy.â€
â€“ The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Importantly, the plan would see the government adding â€œplastic manufactured itemsâ€ to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which would classify certain plastics as â€œtoxic materialsâ€ and allow for preventative and control measures for any aspect of the product life cycle, including manufacturing, import and sale. Canada recently used a similar approach to ban the sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads smaller than 5 mm, in a major win in Canadaâ€™s fight against ocean microplastics.
FOCUS ON OCEAN HEALTH
Prior to being appointed Environment Minister in 2019, The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson served as the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and under his leadership, Canada advanced several international treaties to curb ocean plastic pollution.
In 2018, Canada officially signed the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to protect marine life from abandoned fishing gear, and to bolster international momentum for action on plastic pollution worldwide, also launched the Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7 Leaders Summit, which has been signed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
With over 20 years of experience in the private sector and a consistent record of progressive environmental policy, The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson brings a wealth of experience and perspective to the Keynote Conversation on ocean plastics at this yearâ€™s Zero Waste Conference.
As he put it in a recent op-ed:
â€œPlastic pollution is harmful to our environment and the transition to a more circular economy â€” where we reuse materials rather than simply throwing them away â€” is an economic opportunity that we can, and must, capitalize on.â€
November 13, 2020