The plastic bag bylaw was deemed invalid by the BC Court of Appeal. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria businesses remain plastic-bag free, despite court ruling

Business association says no one has inquired into re-establishing the use of plastic bags

Local businesses don’t seem fazed by the court dismissal of the City’s plastic bag ban bylaw, according to the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA).

On July 11 the BC Court of Appeals submitted its decision in favour of the Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA), ruling the City’s bylaw invalid due to a technicality. While the City had drafted the bylaw as one to regulate businesses, the CPBA argued it was actually proposed for environmental purposes. In this case, the city would have needed provincial approval first, which it did not attain before implementing the bylaw on July 1, 2018.

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

Regardless of the ruling, things seem unchanged.

“We’ve received no calls from businesses asking if they can start using plastic bags again,” said Jeff Bray, executive director of the DVBA. “The implementation of the bylaw went really well… I don’t think we have a lot of pent up angst against the bylaw.”

Additionally, many businesses no longer have plastic bags to offer – after the bylaw was put in place, businesses had six months to finish using what they had in stock.

“It’s not as simple as just getting plastic bags, you have to order them and print them off first,” Bray said.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was disappointed with the decision, but also believed residents would continue opting for reusable bags instead.

ALSO READ: Victoria first B.C. municipality to adopt plastic bag ban

“We don’t need rules to have good behaviour,” she said after the decision was announced. “My hope is that the community will continue the path that we’ve worked and walked together since the bylaw came into effect.”

Presently, the City is looking at its legal options to determine next steps.

In the meantime, the CPBA is pleased with the decision but is also moving forward with legal consultation.

“The Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA) is pleased that earlier today the Court of Appeal for British Columbia found the City of Victoria’s ban on single use plastic bags to be invalid and quashed by the bylaw,” the CPBA said in an emailed statement after the decision came forward. “The CPBA is studying the judgment, along with their legal counsel, and will comment further in due course.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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