Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Victoria's appeal on plastic bag ban
VICTORIA -- Canada's highest court won't hear the City of Victoria's appeal against a decision striking down its ban on single-use plastic bags.
It's the latest blow against the city's attempts to impose its Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw on businesses in the municipality.
In a statement Thursday, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she is "disappointed" in the high court's decision but said there are "other avenues for us to achieve our goals of eliminating plastic checkout bags and reducing waste."
The Supreme Court of Canada, as is customary, did not give reasons for the ruling.
The city bylaw prohibited stores from offering plastic bags to customers for free. Stores could offer reusable bags or paper bags at a cost.
After the ban took effect, the Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA) challenged the law in B.C. Supreme Court, claiming the city went beyond its authority to enact the ban.
The group's argument was rejected but the B.C. Appeal Court later overturned that decision, ruling the ban was imposed for environmental reasons, which are under the jurisdiction of the of province's Ministry of Environment, and not the municipality.
Victoria's mayor vowed to keep pushing to eliminate plastic waste.
“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 CPBA welcomed the high court's ruling Thursday, saying "plastic bags typically outperform paper bags and, from an environmental perspective, are in many ways the best packaging option, given that they can be recycled, unlike reusable bags, and are less carbon intensive and emit less GHGs than paper bags."