With about five months to go before Victoria’s ban on single use plastic bags comes into effect, an industry organization has launched a petition against the City in B.C. Supreme Court looking to overturn the bylaw, which was approved in December.
The Canadian Plastic Bag Association is challenging the legality of the ban on the basis of a lack of authority to enact such a ban or to impose minimum fees for paper or reusable bags. The CPBA claims the move will “significantly impact” its members who manufacture and supply bags for the Victoria market.
The City of Victoria acknowledges that last week it received a court petition from the CPBA challenging the validity of the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw. According to a spokesperson, the City’s legal staff continue to review the petition and plan to prepare a response.
The bylaw, which will prevent businesses from providing free plastic bags, with certain exceptions, comes into effect July 1. Regulations outline fees to be charged for bags, 15 cents for a paper bag and $1 for a reusable bag.
The City of Victoria sent letters to neighbouring municipalities hoping to craft a multi-jurisdictional bylaw for plastic bags, but did not receive any concrete support for such a plan. Other municipalities are working on their own versions of a ban, while some, including Esquimalt, plan to watch Victoria to see how the enforcement goes and what the reaction is to the changes.
The Canadian Plastic Bag Association is described in the court documents as an “incorporated non-profit advocacy organization representing a wide range of manufacturers and distributors of plastic shopping bags throughout Canada, including British Columbia.” It has worked to strike down bag ban bylaws across the country and was successful in prompting Toronto council to reverse that city’s ban in 2012. It continues to target cities that have already enacted bans, especially in Quebec.