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Industry associations mount legal challenges to Toronto’s plastic bag ban

Toronto’s proposed plastic bag ban is under legal challenge by a variety of industry associations.



Toronto’s proposed plastic bag ban is under legal challenge by a variety of industry associations.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) has filed a legal application against the City of Toronto alleging that the draft bylaw – which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013 – falls outside the city’s jurisdiction and was approved without proper public consultation.

The ban would be applied to shopping bags, but provide exemptions for bulk and frozen foods.

“The proposed bylaw is invalid and was rushed forward with essentially no consultation with the businesses it will harm,” said Dave Bryans, the OCSA’s chief executive. “The by-law selectively exempts dozens of plastic bags, but targets a single type – one that many retailers rely upon and that research shows consumers frequently re-use after they carry home their purchases. The business model of convenience stores also often relies on impulse purchases along with staples like milk and bread. The ability to provide consumers with reliable, strong and cost-effective bags to carry their purchases home is a vital part of convenience stores’ ability to meet consumer demand.”

In a second prong of the attack, the Canada Plastic Bag Association (CPBA) has started a legal proceeding in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto against the City of Toronto. “As Toronto City Council gave no notice, undertook no public consultation, carried out no due diligence, and received no advice prior to adopting the Plastic Bag Ban, the bag ban resolution ought to be quashed for having been passed in bad faith,” said Joe Hruska, a CPBA spokesman, in a news release. The release argues that Toronto’s council did not get input from anyone who indicated the ban “would further the economic, social, and/or environmental well-being of the city or would protect the health, safety and well-being of any person.”

In a related move, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) is involved in an online email campaign to stop the ban from being implemented. “If you want to save jobs and your business, send this [email link] to your employees, suppliers, associates, family and friends,” the CPIA said in its cover letter. The CPIA’s letter features an embedded link that takes the viewer to an anti-bag ban website, and from there a petition can be filled out and sent to the City of Toronto Council. The petition can be found at this link.


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