A plastic industry lobby group has filed a court petition at the Supreme Court of British Columbia seeking to overturn Victoria’s ban on single-use plastic bags that is set to take effect in July.
The Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA), an “incorporated non-profit advocacy organization representing a wide range of manufacturers and distributors of plastic shopping bags” in Canada filed the court petition on Jan. 21. challenging the validity of the city’s Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw and seeking to quash it.
According to the petition, CPBA members service a variety of stores and work co-operatively with retailers and government the reduce, reuse and recycle in their own operations and “with respect to the products that they produce.”
“CPBA members have substantial interest in the manufacture, supply, distribution, and sale of plastic bags in Victoria and will, wholly and individually, be significantly impacted by the plastic bag ban imposed by the City of Victoria,” the petition reads.
The group claims in the petition that the city does not have the jurisdiction to prohibit businesses from providing plastic bags to their customers and the city can’t permit only paper and reusable bags or ask businesses to charge a minimum fee for such bag.
The City of Victoria said its legal staff are reviewing the petition and will prepare a response in accordance with the normal legal process.
Victoria’s ban on single-use plastic bags was given a final vote of approval on Jan. 11. Under the bylaw, businesses will not be permitted to provide customers with single-use plastic bags. Instead, businesses will have to offer paper bags and charge customers a minimum 15 cents, which will go up to 25 cents by July 1, 2019.
Businesses can also offer reusable bags for a minimum of $1, rising to $1 on July 1, 2019. Both paper and reusable bags can only be provided if the customer requests out.
There are exceptions to the ban, including bags used to package meat or plants, hardware items, loose bulk foods, dry cleaning bags and bags that protect linens, beddings or other large items. Other exemptions include frozen foods, bakery goods not already packaged, prepared foods, prescription drugs, live fish and newspapers or other material left at a residence or a business.
Businesses that are handing out plastic bags or not charging for paper or reusable bags could be fined. The fines range from $50 to $500 for individuals and from $100 to $10,000 for corporations. The enforcement would not begin until 2019.
Victoria is the province’s first city to officially ban single-use bags. The first major Canadian city to implement a ban on plastic bags was Montreal. That ban took effect earlier this month.