Canada’s Single-Use Plastics Ban

Posted October 13, 2020

On October 7, 2020, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced more details of the Government of Canada’s plan to meet a zero plastic waste goal by 2030. As part of the announcement, the Government identified six items that they are proposing to ban by the end of 2021:

  • Plastic checkout bags
  • Stir sticks
  • Six-pack rings
  • Cutlery
  • Straws
  • Food service ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics such as polystyrene and black plastic containers

This announcement focused on six items that are not typically recycled and have alternative options readily available. In addition, the plan identified the need to find solutions to ensure more plastic is recovered and plastic products contain at least 50% recycled content by 2030; a new discussion paper Proposed Integrated Management Approach to Plastic Products to Prevent Waste and Pollution is open to public comments until December 9, 2020.

The federal announcement aligns with similar bans that have been enacted in jurisdictions across the country. Please see below for several examples:

JURISDICTION ACTION
British Columbia: Allowing municipalities to implement local bylaws banning single-use plastics, with the province also investigating the implementation of a province-wide ban on single-use plastics. READ MORE.
Ontario: Ontario government tabled a bill in March 2019 identifying measurable targets and timelines for the reduction and eventual elimination of the distribution of single-use plastics. READ MORE.
Ontario government is working with industry stakeholders, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations towards a plan to transition the Blue Box program to full producer responsibility between 2023 and 2025. READ MORE.
Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia government tabled the Plastic Bags Reduction Act in September 2019 to reduce the use of plastic bags and other single-use products. The Act comes into effect on October 30, 2020. READ MORE.
Prince Edward Island: Prince Edward Island government tabled the Plastic Bag Reduction Act in April 2018, which prohibits businesses from providing plastic checkout bags to consumers. The Act came into effect July 1, 2019. READ MORE.
Newfoundland and
Labrador:
Provincial government included Plastic Retail Bag regulations as part of the Environmental Protection Act, which banned single-use plastic bags as of October 1, 2020. READ MORE.
Fort McMurray,
Alberta:
Municipal Council adopted the Single-Use Shopping Bag Bylaw as of December 2009. READ MORE.
Thompson, Manitoba: Municipal Bylaw enacted that banned the sale or distribution of single-use plastic bags as of December 31, 2010. READ MORE.
Montreal, Quebec: Municipal Bylaw enacted banning the distribution of plastic bags in retail stores as of January 1, 2018. READ MORE.

Along with various provincial and municipal jurisdictions acting to prohibit single-use plastics, more than 90 countries around the world have already implemented similar restrictions, either through complete bans or regulating their use by charging fees, such as France, China, and New Zealand. Soon, Canada will be joining other countries that have already worked towards reducing and/or eliminating the use of single-use plastics which will support the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste and the Ocean Plastics Charter.

If the new Canadian regulation affects your business and you have questions, please reach out to Eric Meliton, Partners in Project Green’s Program Manager for Waste Management, at (416) 661-6600 ext. 5890 or eric.meliton@trca.ca.