The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the city of Victoria’s appeal against a decision that struck down the municipality’s attempts to enforce a ban against plastic bags in businesses.
No reason for the dismissal was given by Canada’s highest court, as is customary.
Victoria first announced their Checkout Bag Regulation bylaw in July 2018 with support from the BC Supreme Court.
This bylaw prohibited businesses from providing single-use plastic bags to customers, and instated a minimum 15 cent charge for all paper bags.
However this decision was struck down over a year later by the provincial appellate court which ruled that the city’s ban was enacted to facilitate the protection of the natural environment.
According to the Court of Appeals ruling, this is a move that requires approval from the provincial Minster of Environment, which was not sought.
“While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the case, there are other avenues for us to achieve our goals of eliminating plastic checkout bags and reducing waste in our community,” said mayor Lisa Helps in response to the decision.
“Thanks to our Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, our community has eliminated more than 17 million plastic bags from reaching the landfill… And our recent scans tell us that our community continues to avoid plastic bags despite these setbacks.”
Helps and the current city council have vowed to continue searching for ways to reduce plastic waste, including by working with provincial and federal authorities.