Local shops are staying plastic free. (Black Press Media file photo)

Local shops are staying plastic free. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria shops avoid plastic bags, despite bylaw being voided

The city is working on getting the bylaw re-established

Despite Victoria’s plastic bag ban bylaw being dissolved, many businesses are sticking to the plastic-free options.

On Thursday the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the City of Victoria’s application for a leave to appeal a BC Appeals Court decision that dismissed the bylaw in July.

In a hearing against the Canadian Plastic Bag Association, the BC Court of Appeals found that the City had overstepped its reach, by writing an environmental bylaw rather than an economic bylaw, meaning it needed provincial approval.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps wasn’t too concerned, saying that despite the ruling in the summer very few businesses have picked up plastic once again.

ALSO READ: Lisa Helps ‘disappointed, not surprised’ by Supreme Court decision to not hear plastic bag bylaw appeal

“[Our] recent scans tell us that our community continues to avoid plastic bags despite these setbacks,” Helps said. “Moving forward, we’re going to continue to look for every opportunity to reduce plastic waste, which includes working with our provincial and national governments to develop high and shared standards.”

Red Barn Market is just one of these businesses; the chain, which has seven grocery stores across the Capital Region is sticking to charging for paper or reusable bags.

“It’s the consumer that dictates that, and our consumers are asking for that,” said co-owner Russ Benwell, adding that charges only cover the purchasing price of the bags. “I think Greater Victoria is very environmentally conscious and our consumers are really happy… we have no intentions of bringing plastic back.”

Victoria intends to send a revised version of its plastic bag bylaw to the province for consideration in coming weeks. The City adopted the bylaw in 2018, banning businesses from giving or selling single-use plastic bags for most items. The bylaw was challenged by a lobbyist group known as the Canadian Plastic Bag Association.

The BC Supreme court originally dismissed the challenge, and saw the bylaw come into effect on July 1, 2018.

However, a decision in the BC Court of Appeal in July 2019 overruled this, citing that the bylaw was invalid because it had been drafted as an economic measure when its main goal was environmental, meaning that it required permission from the province.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she was “disappointed, but not surprised” about the Supreme Court dismissal, and added that there were “other avenues” available to achieve their goal.

City solicitor Tom Zworski wrote a proposed revision of the bylaw, with some minor changes. These include expressly identifying the bylaw as being developed to protect the environment, clarification on which foods are exempt from plastic bags (to include a reference to seafood) and clearly defining a single fine to range from $100 to $10,000 to provide flexibility to future court decisions.

If this version receives all three readings on Thursday, it will be forwarded to the province for consideration in the next few weeks.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

City of VictoriaPlastic Bag BanPlastic Bags

Just Posted

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Island woman’s magic mushroom trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Grade 3 student Nate Twaddle, who uses a walker for a rare neurological condition, has been zooming along a new accessible walkway since it was installed in early October at Willway Elementary in Langford. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Langford mother thankful for accessible walkway that helps son connect with peers

Rare neurological condition means Grade 3 student uses wheelchair, walker to play

Trevor Davis, base manager of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation in Sidney, stands in front of the Hecate Sentinal, an oil skimming vessel based at Sidney’s Van Isle Marina. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Oil spill response base taking shape on Saanich Peninsula

Enhanced base with elements in North Saanich and Sidney to be fully operational in fall 2022

The Fraser Institute’s annual report card on B.C. elementary schools ranks schools across the province based on standardized tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Opinion: Fraser Institute delivers elementary schools the usual mixed report card

What we learn doesn’t change, but maybe how we react to it should

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

A truck arrives with a load of logs at Western Forest Products’ mill in Ladysmith. More work will be coming to the Ladysmith sawmill in February, says WFP. (Black Press file photo)
More work at Ladysmith mill in new year, says Western Forest Products

Company says Ladysmith operation to see second shift in February

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Woman spits in Campbell River business operator’s face

Spitter claimed she has COVID-19, in downtown confrontation

Participants pray in preparation for the start of the convoy through the streets of the Comox Valley, Wednesday, Dec. 2, to show support for farmers in India. Photo by Terry Farrell
VIDEO: Comox Valley residents hold rally and convoy in support of the plight of farmers in India

New legislation in India calls for for the deregulation of crop pricing

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign poppies. This year the fundraising effort was mixed for local legions which have suffered from financial strain due to COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Mixed year for Legions during annual poppy campaign

Some find success, some struggle amidst the pandemic

A 53-unit building to be built at 6010 Hammond Bay Rd. (Murdoch Company Architecture Planning Ltd. image)
Province announces support for more than 60 units of affordable housing in Nanaimo

Building B.C. Community Housing Fund partners with Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society

Most Read