VICTORIA -- The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has approved Saanich council's proposed bylaw to ban single-use plastic bags.

Saanich's Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw is intended to eliminate all single-use plastic checkout bags in the district, while still permitting paper bags to be sold for 15 cents. 

Saanich's plastic bag ban underwent amendments last year after the district saw the City of Victoria's plastic bag bylaw struck down by the B.C. Court of Appeal in July, 2019. 

Victoria originally launched its plastic bag ban on July 1, 2018. However, the B.C. Court of Appeal said that Victoria overreached with its ban as the bylaw was based on environmental grounds, which fall under provincial jurisdiction, and not a business regulation, which would fall under the purview of the city.

After Victoria's bylaw was struck down, the District of Saanich amended its single-use plastic bag ban and submitted it directly to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman.

On Thursday, the district said that the minister approved of the bylaw proposal, allowing for Saanich to move forward with enacting the ban.

"Saanich has declared a climate emergency and the elimination of checkout bags is a small but important step toward becoming more sustainable, reducing waste and respecting our natural environment," said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes in a news release Thursday.

"Moving forward, we want to do our part to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our environment for the future."

The district says that the bylaw must now receive final adoption by Saanich council. Once the bylaw is approved, it will come into effect 60 days after its official adoption by the council.