The City of Victoria’s efforts to ban plastic bags were squashed by a Supreme Court ruling Thursday morning. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria’s plastic-bag ban ended by Supreme Court of Canada

City’s leave to appeal lower court’s decision denied

Plastic bags won’t be banned in the City of Victoria any time soon.

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the City’s application for a leave to appeal the decision that halted efforts for a plastic bag ban.

In September 2019, the City filed the leave to appeal the B.C. Court of Appeal’s decision to quash the plastic bag bylaw. Lobbyist group the Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA) began pushing back in January 2018, and argued at the time that the bylaw’s main goal was to target environmental issues, a provincial jurisdiction, and that the municipality had stepped out of line passing it as an economic strategy. The BC Court of Appeals agreed, meaning that the city’s bylaw was dissolved until it got provincial approval.

If it the appeal been granted, the City would have been able to schedule a hearing to appeal the fall decision.

“I’m disappointed but not surprised,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “The Supreme Court only takes on 10 per cent of cases.”

With the leave for appeal dismissed, the lower court’s decision stands. As is customary for a leave to appeal decision, the Supreme Court does not issue any reasons for its decision.

READ ALSO: Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Helps said that regardless of the legals standing, the now-defunct Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, which regulated the issuance and sale of single-use plastic bags in the city starting July 1, 2018, has “eliminated more than 17 million plastic bags from reaching the landfill.”

“That achievement is too great for us to turn our backs on. And our recent scans tell us that our community continues to avoid plastic bags despite these setbacks,” Helps said. “Moving forward, we’re going to continue to look for every opportunity to reduce plastic waste, which includes working with our provincial and national governments to develop high and shared standards.”

Helps said the City is confident it will see bold leadership from the Province of B.C. in their Plastics Action Plan.

READ ALSO: City to look at options after BC Court of Appeal sides with plastic bag industry

After the municipal bylaw came into effect on July 1, 2018, businesses were instructed to instead offer paper or reusable bags for purchase, or else they would face heavy fines.

In response to the Supreme Court decision, the CPBA said in a statement that it welcomes the decision to “respect limits” placed on B.C. municipalities’ authority when addressing environmental issues.

The association said the City’s Bylaw could have “unintended and harmful effects” and claimed research “available to the City has shown that plastic bags typically outperform paper bags.”

The CPBA also said in many ways, plastic bags are “the best packaging option given they can be recycled and are “less carbon intensive.” The association said it will work with the province to address packaging and recycling issues.

Helps said the municipality will now submit a revised version of the bylaw to the province for approval, with an intention of doing so in the next few weeks.

With files from Kendra Crighton, Nicole Crescenzi.

City of VictoriaPlastic Bag BanPlastic Bags

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sinclar Group curtailing all sawmill operations temporarily

Nechako Lumber, Apollo Forest Products and Lakeland Mills to be curtailed for three weeks starting April 5.

Letter: Update on post spring-break plans from SD91

By Manu Madhok, Superintendent of Schools Dear Parents/Guardians, As we officially end… Continue reading

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP calling for halt on sport fishing licenses to out-of-province fishers

Bachrach and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns co-signed the letter to the Minister of Fisheries

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

End of spring-break update from Fort St. James Secondary School

Fort St. James Secondary School principal has written a letter to parents… Continue reading

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

‘Drive right through’: Haida Gwaii First Nation erects checkpoint for non-residents

Skidegate Band Council Emergency Operations Centre erected checkpoint on April 2

Most Read