Canadian Plastics

New Canadian industry coalition launches legal challenge to “toxic” listing

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The Responsible Plastic Use Coalition has filed a Notice of Application in the Federal Court of Canada challenging the order.

Responsible Plastic Use Coalition (CNW Group/Responsible Plastic Use Coalition)

One week after the federal government listed plastic manufactured items as “toxic” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), a group Canadian plastics firms have formed a coalition to launch a court challenge against the move.

The Responsible Plastic Use Coalition (RPUC) – currently made up of 27 companies, including Dow Inc., Berry Global Group, Nova Chemicals Corp., Emmerson Packaging, HymoPack, Malpack Ltd., Polykar, IPL Plastics Inc., Ingenia Polymers, and Polytarp Products – said it filed a Notice of Application in the Federal Court of Canada challenging the government’s May 12 order.

“[The toxic designation] is not supported by available science and will have far reaching and unintended consequences, including those beyond our borders,” the group said in a May 19 statement. “The federal government’s approach does not recognize that most plastic manufactured items are considered to be safe and comply with national and international standards, and in the case of plastics used for food packaging, are required to comply with federal government regulations ensuring that they are safe for use.”

Among the unintended consequences of the CEPA listing, RPUC said, are increased cost and confusion for consumers and small businesses; reduced investment and innovation along the plastics value chain due to uncertainty and changing regulations; regulatory uncertainty around which additional items could eventually be banned; negative environmental outcomes caused by promoting alternatives to plastics which have greater environmental footprints; and more difficulty in creating a circular economy for plastic.


“As one of the largest food packaging companies in Canada, we are extremely concerned about the government’s efforts to declare all plastic manufactured items as toxic,” said Emmerson Packaging president and CEO Stephen Emmerson. “Designating these products as toxic is not based on science and will have significant impacts on businesses large and small across the country, including Atlantic Canada. Implying that plastic is not safe for food or our water supply is not only dangerous but completely misleading.”

“Our company employs over 300 hard-working Canadians,” added Ricardo Cardoso, COO of Malpack. “With this policy, the government is carelessly attaching a toxic label to our business – ignoring the fact that our films are the most environmentally friendly products available to safely transport goods across the country. We need policy based in science, not politics.”

The Ottawa-based RPUC said it is closely monitoring the federal government’s actions on this matter. “[We] will continue to provide updates as developments regarding [our] legal action against the federal government proceed,” it said.


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