1.10.3 What is a first importer?

A first importer is a company that is the first to take possession or control of products entering a province from outside of the province. The first importer of a brand becomes the obligated steward of PPP associated with imported goods if the brand owner is not resident in the province and there is no voluntary steward for the brand (as outlined in Section 1.8) in the province.

The following table provides examples of the legally obligated steward in different scenarios


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Example Responsible Party
Registered brand

Company A is resident in British Columbia and holds the registered trademark/brand.

Company A as the resident brand owner in BC.
Unregistered Brand

Company A in Ontario holds the intellectual property rights to an unregistered brand.

Company A as the brand owner in ON.
More than one brand on package or printed material

Company A and Company B, both resident in Manitoba, have one product they jointly supply where the packaging and printed material displays both of their brands. Company A is more involved with the packaging and printed material than Company B.

Company A as the brand owner in MB
No identifiable brand on package or printed material

Company A in Saskatchewan is the first to take control of the imported product associated with packaging that bears no identifiable brand.

Company A as the first importer.
Resident has Licensing Agreement with non-resident brand owner

Company A is not resident in Ontario and holds the intellectual property rights to the brand; Company B is resident in Ontario and is licensee of Company A’s brand(s).

Company B as the resident brand owner in ON
Resident has Licensing Agreement with resident brand owner

Company A is resident in Saskatchewan and holds the intellectual property rights to the brand; Company B also is resident in Saskatchewan and is licensee of Company A’s brand

Company A as the SK resident brand owner for all branded PPP it and its licensees supply in SK.
First Importer

Company A imports products into Manitoba and is the first to take control of the imported products. The brand owner is not a resident of Manitoba.

Company A as the resident first importer
Affiliated companies

Company A owns Company B and Company C. Company B and C are affiliated with each other and owned by Company A.

Company A is resident in Ontario and supplies PPP to retailers who in turn supply these materials to consumers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Subsidiary B is resident in British Columbia. Subsidiary C is resident in Saskatchewan. 

As affiliated companies, Company A, B, or C must file a single report for itself and its affiliates for all PPP supplied to residential consumers in BC, SK and Ontario by the corporate group.
Affiliated companies outside of Canada

Company X, resident in the USA, is the parent to Company Y resident in Manitoba and Company Z resident in Ontario.

Both Company Y and Z supply PPP into Manitoba and Ontario.

Company Y and Z are considered affiliates as they are owned by the same entity. Therefore, both Y and Z must report under a single account for all PPP supplied into both MB and ON.

If Company X starts to supply directly to residential consumers where stewardship obligations exist, they will be considered obligated via their subsidiaries or affiliates. Company X must report in all obligated provinces where PPP is supplied. 

Franchisor and Franchisees

Company A is a franchisor with residency in British Columbia with franchisees located in British Columbia.

Company A as the franchisor is responsible for the entire BC franchise system.
Franchisor and Franchisees

Company A is a franchisor and is not resident in British Columbia and has franchisees located in British Columbia

Company A as the franchisor is responsible for the entire BC franchise system.
Franchisor and Franchisees

Company B is a franchisor located in the US with a franchise system operating in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Company B as the franchisor is responsible to report and pay fees for PPP supplied by all three franchise systems.
Service packaging with or without brand

Company A is resident in British Columbia and supplies plastic bags to residential consumers that carry the brand name of the bag manufacturer (Company B). [NOTE: packaging provided at point of sale is called service packaging.]

Company A is responsible for all of the service packaging it supplies to residential consumers in BC.
Manufacturer of private label brands

Company A manufactures private label goods on behalf of company B.

Company B as the brand owner of the private label goods.
Warehouse/distributor (as a third party)

Company A is the brand owner and is resident in Ontario and ships product to a warehouse or distributor in Ontario. The warehouse or distributor fills orders on behalf of Company A.

Company A as brand owner.
Drug Store

Company A is a pharmacy that is resident in Manitoba and dispenses Company B’s brands of prescription medication by removing it from Company B’s bulk container and putting the pills into Company A’s service packaging (e.g. plastic pill bottles).

Company A is responsible for all service packaging it supplies in MB.