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Federal plastic ban could increase costs for Canadian businesses: CFIB

Last Updated Oct 7, 2020 at 12:12 pm PDT

Plastic cutlery is pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. on June, 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

A small business group is concerned about what a ban on some single-use plastics will cost

Muriel Protzer with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the timing presents challenges

Protzer notes national standards are better than the patchwork rules we've seen at the municipal level

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Bringing in a federal ban on some single-use plastics is causing concern for a small business group worried it will lead to increased costs, especially for companies in sectors that are already struggling.

Muriel Protzer with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the timing of the proposed ban presents challenges in terms of the financial impact.

“Revenues are significantly down for businesses even still. In British Columbia, for example, only 27 per cent of small businesses are making normal revenues for this time of the year and that’s the average,” she says.

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“Sectors like the restaurant industry, who have suffered so tremendously from the pandemic, they will certainly have a struggle being able to absorb new costs.”

The federal government laid out its plan Wednesday to eventually get rid of certain single-use plastic items, such as grocery bags, stir sticks, six-pack rings, utensils, and straws.

If the plan goes forward, the ban could be in effect by the end of next year.

“It’s very important that the federal government make it absolutely clear to businesses what the regulations are,” Protzer says, “and also help them in finding new products to replace their single-use items with.”

If the regulations do come in, Protzer says at least the federal government involvement will mean consistency across the country. She notes national standards are better than the patchwork rules seen at the municipal level.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson noted the harm single-use plastics can have on wildlife as well as the environment.