A replacement plastic checkout bag ban was unanimously approved by Saanich council Monday night and the original bylaw was repealed.
In June, Saanich council passed a bylaw banning plastic checkout bags which was set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The bylaw was similar to that of the City of Victoria’s which was implemented in July 2018 and was later struck down after the Plastic Bag Association brought the issue to the B.C. Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the bylaw was focused on environmental protection, not on business regulations, meaning the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy would have needed to approve it before it went into effect.
Influenced by Victoria’s legal battle, Saanich council members voted to repeal the District’s original plastic checkout bag bylaw and move forward with a replacement bylaw specifically for the protection of the natural environment that will be forwarded to the Minister for approval.
If approved, council will move forward with implementing the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags within 60 days of the Minister giving the go-ahead. This is to allow businesses to make adjustments.
The replacement bylaw is almost the same as the original except it will not go into effect on Jan. 1 and once it does go into effect, it will be enforced right away, not six months after as was outlined in the original bylaw.
Like the original, the replacement bylaw states that companies must also increase the price of reusable and paper bags from $0.15 to $1 and from $0.25 to $2 within the first year of the bylaw being in effect.