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

Grant applications approved for Crofton to Maple Bay Trail and Fuller Lake Arena roof replacement

North Cowichan also planning to look into illegal secondary suites

North Cowichan launches survey on the future of community engagement

Clarifying how community input can influence the municipal decision-making process one of the goals

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Lairds mark landmark 65th anniversary this summer

Love story endures the test of time and not defeated by COVID pandemic

Many reasons motorists need to slow down

Construction, back to school, people walking dogs, riding bikes all factors

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read