RECYCLER AUDIT PROTOCOLS

Working on behalf of the industry-led provincial end-of-life electronics (EOLE) programs (the ‘Programs’), the Recycler Qualification Office (RQO) has been retained to conduct recycler assessments in accordance with the requirements of the Recycler Qualification Program (RQP) and the following assessment protocols. As such, the Programs may assign any and all responsibilities and/or authorities under the RQP to the RQO, and all results of recycler assessments will be communicated to the Programs.

By submitting a Recycler Application, the recycler agrees to undertake the assessment process, and will permit the RQO and/or its agents, access to the recycling facility and operations to assess them against the requirements of the RQP. In addition, following any verification under the RQP, the Recycler will permit access to the facility for either scheduled or unannounced surveillance reviews, throughout the term of the verification. The recycler will also ensure the same rights in respect of any Downstream Recyclers that are covered within the scope of the approval.

Failure to provide access to applicable processes, facilities or operations, or information related to the application, approval or operation of the facility will result in the immediate closure of the assessment and application.

At its discretion, the RQO may consult with regulatory authorities including approvals and/or enforcement officials on any potential regulatory noncompliance issues, in order to seek interpretation, clarification or other resolve of the issue.

A Statement of Verification under the RQP does not guarantee a Recycler a contract with any program, nor does it guarantee any allocation of any Program’s material. Following verification, the Recycler must apply to each Program individually for approval under the particular program. Only after receiving a copy of the Recycler’s Statement of Verification will the Program negotiate or re-negotiate a contract to have the Recycler provide services to that program.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Prior to consideration for use under any of the Programs, the Recycler’s operations, as well as the operations of all Downstream Recyclers that handle material associated with or generated from the EOLE must be assessed and approved by the RQO.

A Primary Recycler may initiate the assessment process by completing the RQP Recycler Application Form and submitting it to the RQO with all necessary supporting information. Primary recyclers are responsible for ensuring that adequate supporting documentation is provided, as incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Should it be determined that a Recycler has provided false information or misrepresented any part of the organization, recycling operations or processes undertaken, the Recycler’s application will immediately be rejected and the assessment process terminated. Application for re-assessment following the rejection of the application will only be considered after one year from the date of the rejection and with the approval to proceed with the re-assessment by a committee of representatives of the Programs.

ASSESSMENTS

Recyclers will be assessed against the auditable criteria of the Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS)*, in line with the requirements of the RQP. The RQP assessment process consists of 3 key elements: document audit; on-site audit; and interim surveillance reviews.

The RQO will initiate a document audit only once a complete application has been received. The Application package will form the basis of the document audit, however, additional information may be required to complete the review. All findings from the document audit will be reported back to the recycler and submission of corrective action plans will be required for any nonconformances. Once deemed acceptable by the RQO, corrective action plans must be implemented and all nonconformances satisfactorily addressed within the allotted timelines prior to initiating an on-site audit.

Upon completion of the document audit, an on-site audit will be scheduled for the primary recycler’s facility. All on-site audit findings will be reported back to the recycler and submission of corrective action plans will be required for any nonconformances. Once deemed acceptable by the RQO, corrective action plans must be implemented and all nonconformances must be satisfactorily addressed within the allotted timelines prior to initiating any downstream audits. Following a successful assessment of the primary recycler and the closure of all nonconformances, a similar assessment process will be undertaken for each downstream recycler.

The Primary Recycler will cause all Downstream Recyclers covered within the scope of the application to cooperate fully with any assessments conducted by the RQO. Communication of the status of Downstream Recycler assessments to the Primary Recycler will be limited to number of nonconformances identified, classification of the nonconformance and timelines for closure, unless the Downstream Recycler provides written agreement to share detailed assessment findings with the Primary Recycler.

Inability to adequately demonstrate conformance with any element of the ERS at any time will be deemed a nonconformance.

*Effective June 8, 2015, Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) has updated the Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS) 2015. Please click here to review the ERS 2015 Statement on the EPSC website.

What does this new ERS 2015 mean for recyclers? 

The updating to the ERS 2015 will be phased in and there will be time built in for the transition to the new standard.  Further important details, along with the updated ERS 2015, will be available by July 31, 2015 and will be posted to the RQP.ca website.

If you wish to discuss the auditing process and how your organization may be affected under ERS 2015, please contact the RQO at info@rqp.ca.

DOWNSTREAM RECYCLERS

Communication and management of Downstream Recyclers is the sole responsibility of the Primary Recycler. The RQO will provide general communication materials for the Primary Recycler’s use in educating Downstream Recyclers, however, the Primary Recycler is responsible for ensuring that all Downstreams are aware of the requirements of the RQP and accept the conditions of the assessment process in alignment with the Recycler Assessment Protocols.

The RQO will communicate directly with Downstream Recyclers solely for the purpose of scheduling assessments and sharing any information pertinent to an application or ongoing assessment.

Where an agreement exists between the Primary Recycler and the Downstream Recycler, and suitable arrangements are in place to facilitate the agreement, the Primary Recycler may act on the Downstream Recycler’s behalf to address any conditions of the RQP. For example, an agreement may exist for the Primary Recycler to notify the Stewardship Programs and RQO of any fines or regulatory infractions on behalf of the Downstream Recycler.

ASSESSMENT FINDINGS

Audit findings will be classified in accordance with the Audit Protocols defined in the RQP, and all findings must be satisfactorily addressed by the Recycler, as determined by the RQP Auditor, within the allotted timeframes defined in the RQP.

CLOSURE OF AUDIT AS ‘NOT APPROVED’

Inability of a Recycler to provide adequate objective evidence that demonstrates conformance with the requirements of the RQP within the allotted timeframe will result in the closure of the audit and the status of the Recycler will be indicated as ‘Not Approved’.

After the closure of an audit as ‘Not Approved’, the Recycler may apply for re-audit after a period of 12 months.

STATEMENT OF VERIFICATION

Upon successful closure of all outstanding issues for the entire material stream, the RQO will prepare and provide to the Recycler and the Programs, a final Statement of Verification under the RQP, indicating the scope of the approval for the Primary Recycler.

The Recycler must recognize that the assessment is conducted on behalf of the Programs and the results of all assessments, including the Statement of Verification, is solely for the use of the Programs and is not to be misrepresented in any way or relied upon by any third party.

TERM OF APPROVAL

Verification under the RQP is considered valid only for the scope of approval indicated by the RQO, and for a maximum period of 3 years. Any changes in the approved process, including types of materials handled, processes undertaken, or downstream recyclers used, requires re-verification.

ONGOING CONFORMANCE WITH THE ERS

The Recycler is responsible for ensuring ongoing conformance to the requirements of the ERS throughout the term of the approval/verification, and maintaining objective evidence of such conformance.

REVOKING APPROVAL

If it is determined at anytime based on verifiable evidence that the recycler is not operating in conformance with the requirements of the ERS, a nonconformance may be issued and a corrective action response plan required. Failure to adequately respond to the nonconformance within the allotted timeframe will result in the revocation of approval.

After the revocation of an approval, an application for re-assessment may only be submitted following a 3 month operational period after the implementation corrective actions, in order to ensure that ample time is provided to operationalize the changes and provide suitable evidence to verify the effectiveness of the changes.

FORFEITURE OF APPROVAL

Should it be determined that a Recycler has provided false information or misrepresented any part of the recycling operations or processes undertaken, the Recycler’s verification will immediately be forfeited.

Application for re-assessment following a forfeiture of approval will only be considered after one year from the date of forfeiture and with the approval to proceed with the re-assessment by a committee of representatives of the Programs.

COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH COMPLIANCE

The recycler is responsible for all costs associated with ensuring regulatory compliance and conformance to the ERS.

AUDIT FEE PAYMENT

A fee of $ 1 500 is applicable to the submission of any RQP applications.  The application fee will apply to the following types of applications:

  • new primary recycler applications;
  • requests for amendment to an existing scope of approval; and
  • addition of new downstream recycler applications.

A reduced fee of $1 100 will be applicable to all applications submitted by any registered not-for-profit organizations. Please note that the application fee is not applicable for any routine re-approval audits or surveillance reviews initiated by RQO.

Only applications submitted with payment of the applicable fee will be accepted by the RQO for review. The application fee is non-refundable and the RQO is not responsible for any incomplete or nonconforming applications submitted

COMMUNICATIONS

The RQO will maintain a contact list for the distribution of any communications or updates such as Technical Bulletins. Recyclers may choose to receive such updates by email, by registering with the RQO, otherwise, any information may be accessed directly from the website: www.RQP.ca.

TIMING FOR APPROVAL

Timing for Recycler approval is dependent upon the preparation and readiness of the Recycler and all Downstream Recyclers. The RQO will schedule assessments only when the Recycler is deemed to be suitably prepared for the assessment, based on evidence provided such as the completed application.

It is recommended that all recyclers conduct a gap analysis to the requirements of the ERS, prior to application, to ensure that all requirements are suitably addressed. Failure to address any requirements of the ERS will result in a delay of the assessment and verification process.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

In the event that the Recycler disagrees with a decision of the RQO, the Recycler may refer the decision for secondary review. The secondary review will be conducted by an impartial representative from the provincial programs, appointed by the Executive Directors. The reviewer will consider materials submitted by the Recycler and the record provided by the RQO in order to determine whether the RQO came to the correct decision. The reviewer’s conclusion will be final.

In order to have an RQO decision reviewed, the Recycler must submit a completed Dispute Declaration form with accompanying materials. The form and materials must be received by the RQO within 30 days from the date of the RQO decision which is to be reviewed. In order to refer a decision for secondary review, the Recycler must agree to waive confidentiality and must pay the prescribed fee. Note that the reviewer has the discretion to refund the fee back to the Recycler at the end of the secondary review.

Further information can be provided to the Recycler upon request.

AGREEMENT TO SHARE ASSESSMENT RESULTS

The Recycler agrees to the sharing of assessment results and audit reports with all provincial electronics recycling programs that have approved and are using the RQP.

INDEMNITY

By submitting a Recycler Application and initiating the assessment process, the Recycler agrees to indemnify and save harmless the RQO and Programs, and their directors, officers, employees, and agents, from and against any and all manner of actions or causes of actions, damages, costs, legal fees on a solicitor and client basis, loss or expense of whatever kind, arising from the assessment and verification process.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Except where otherwise noted, the RQO will maintain confidential and not use or disclose any information clearly identified by the Recycler as confidential, except as necessary to conduct any RQP assessments and report the results.

The RQO may be required to disclose confidential information pursuant to the lawful requirement of a court or governmental agency or where required by operation of law.

* The Recycler Assessment Protocols may be updated from time to time by the RQO