Victoria to seek leave to appeal B.C. court’s decision to quash plastic bag bylaw

B.C.’s appeals court had sided with the Plastic Bag Association

The City of Victoria will seek leave to appeal the B.C. Court of Appeals decision to quash its plastic bag ban.

Mayor Lisa Helps announced the move Wednesday at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Vancouver.

The municipal bylaw came into effect on July 1, 2018, regulating the issuance and sale of single-use plastic bags. Businesses were instructed to instead offer paper or reusable bags for purchase, or else face heavy fines.

The B.C. Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the bylaw but the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the decision and sided with the Plastic Bag Association.

“We think it’s really important that local governments have the authority to regulate businesses in line with the values of our community,” Helps said.

“Since the bylaw was struck down, 95 to 97 per cent of our businesses are still operating as if the bylaw was in place.”

Helps said appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada was not just about the use of plastic bags in Victoria stores.

“The Court of Appeal’s decision that the bylaw requires provincial approval, which we fundamentally disagree with, runs contrary to a principle previously mentioned at the Supreme Court of Canada,” she said.

The principle is “that lawmaking and implementation are often best achieved at the level of government that’s closest to the citizens. That’s the argument here.”

READ MORE: Victoria to look at options after BC Court of Appeal sides with plastic bag industry


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