City of Victoria wins lawsuit over plastic bag bylaw

Rossland Telegraph
By Rossland Telegraph
June 20th, 2018

More action on single-use plastic bags? Rossland City Council has stated that it was waiting for the outcome of the court challenge against the City of Victoria’s bylaw to ban plastic “check-out” bags.  The Canadian Plastic Bag Association challenged the City of Victoria’s right to regulate plastic bags. Now the Supreme Court of BC has issued its decision, in a judgment by Justice Nathan Smith.

On Tuesday, June 19, the Court found in favour of the City – Justice Smith upheld the City’s right to enact the “Plastic Check-out Bag Regulation” to limit the proliferation of plastic bags, under the City’s authority to regulate businesses, and also its responsibility to manage waste, granted by the Community Charter.

Victoria introduces its bylaw with this preamble:

“The purpose of this Bylaw is to regulate the business use of single use checkout bags to reduce the creation of waste and associated municipal costs, to better steward municipal property, including sewers, streets and parks, and to promote responsible and sustainable business practices that are consistent with the values of the community.”

Readers can examine the full text of Victoria’s bylaw here: http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Legislative~Services/Documents/18-008%20Checkout%20Bag%20Bylaw.pdf

The Canadian Plastic Bag Association has 30 days to file an appeal. But they shouldn’t file an appeal unless there are reasonable grounds for the appeal:  unless the judge made an error of fact or of law.

There has been pressure on Rossland’s City Council for some time now to pass a bylaw restricting the use of plastic bags.  Now that the verdict has been issued on Victoria’s bylaw, Council may choose to wait 30 days more and see whether or not an appeal is filed before drafting a bylaw of our own; or they could choose to go ahead and prepare a draft bylaw.

Watch the “Council Matters” columns to see what happens, and when.

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