The company, whose 'Green for Life' slogan is seen across major Canadian cities, is interviewing Canadian and international investment banks to pick underwriters, the people said, declining to be named discussing the confidential matter.
A C$1 billion IPO would be the biggest Canadian listing since Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd raised C$1.7 billion early this year, and would value GFL at nearly C$5 billion, the people said.
The IPO would provide an exit for investors including U.S. private equity firm HPS Investment Partners LLC and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III, a fund linked to a unit of Australian financial services firm Macquarie Group.
While an IPO is one of several ways to unlock value, no decision has been made to proceed with an offering, GFL General Counsel Joy Grahek said.
HPS and Macquarie declined to comment.
GFL has been working closely with Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which are likely to play a big role in the IPO, the people said. The company raised $350 billion in a bond offering in May.
Led by Chief Executive Patrick Dovigi, GFL has grown through acquisitions into one of Canada's biggest waste management companies.
GFL, whose flashy green-colored trucks are seen across the country, has about 140 facilities across Canada and in Michigan. It is a major provider of soil recycling services in Ontario.
"GFL has been running a process over the last couple of months to appoint banks for an IPO," said an investment banker. "This is an IPO everyone would want to be on."
The company could raise to C$600 to C$1 billion and has not made a final decision yet, he added.
Canadian investors have had a big appetite for IPOs outside of the energy and mining sectors over the past few years, and GFL's deal could be the biggest non-resource IPO since utility Hydro One went public in 2015.
Rivals include Waste Connections Inc, which has operations in Canada and the United States. Waste Connections has a market capitalization of C$23.5 billion.
($1 = 1.2854 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by John Tilak in Toronto and Stephen Lacey for IFR in New York; Additional reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Denny Thomas and Richard Chang)
By John Tilak and Stephen Lacey