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Victoria's plastic bag ban tossed out by B.C. Court of Appeal

Last Updated Jul 11, 2019 at 8:41 pm PDT

FILE: A shopper leaves a grocery store carrying his groceries in plastic bags Tuesday, August 30, 2016 in Brossard, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Summary

Legislation was declared invalid by the BC Court of Appeal because council didn't get approval Ministry of Environment

Mayor Lisa Helps admits other municipalities seeking advice from Victoria need to reconsider their plans

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – A court decision quashing Victoria’s ban of single-use plastic bags delays similar plans by other cities in this province using that bylaw as their model.

The legislation has been declared ‘invalid’ by the BC Court of Appeal because city council did not seek approval from the Ministry of Environment before implementing it in July of last year.

Mayor Lisa Helps says the next steps are under review, but she doesn’t want to wait for federal legislation to kick in years from now.

“Obviously it’s not the decision we were hoping for, but we believe the city does have the ability to regulate businesses and their sustainable practices,” she says. “So, we will be reviewing the decision and looking at all our options. Our community has embraced this by-law since this by-law came into effect it’s stopped 17 million plastic bags from going into landfills. It is part of our DNA as Victorians.”

 

She adds while it isn’t the decision she hoped for, all options¬†are being considered following this legislation being declared ‘invalid’ by the BC Court of Appeal.

“My hope is that since this has been so strongly embraced by our community, business, as usual, will continue in Victoria, even as we sort out the next steps.”

And with the ruling, Helps admits other municipalities seeking advice from Victoria need to reconsider their plans.

“All the lawyers and all of the mayors and councillors from across the province will be taking some very thoughtful, considered steps to figure out what’s the best way to move forward.”

Brock Macdonald, who heads up the Recycling Council of BC, says most grocery stores already collect bags, so they don’t end up in a landfill.

“Consumers’ level of participation is just that they need to bring the bags either back to the store if the stores accept them or to the depots serviced by Recycle BC.”

He says it’s clear we should all stop relying on any single-use items.

“We may disagree on some of the ways we get to that point, but I think we’re all wanting to get to that place in time where we’re reusing rather than using single-use disposable items.”

Other cities looking at implementing similar bans before Ottawa takes action include Kamloops and Vancouver.