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Victoria’s plastic-bag ban struck down by B.C.’s top court

Jul. 11, 2019

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps urged residents and businesses not to turn back the clock after a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling Thursday struck down the city’s ban on single-use plastic bags.

“We don’t need rules to have good behaviour, so my hope is the community will continue [on] the path that we’ve worked and walked in the past year since the bylaw came into effect,” Helps said.

The appeals court found that the city bylaw’s primary purpose was to protect the natural environment rather than to regulate business, and as such, the city should have sought provincial approval for the bylaw — something it did not do.

In fact, the appeal court noted that in March 2017, a Ministry of Environment representative wrote prior to the bylaw’s passage to advise the city that while it could enact the ban, the bylaw would be subject to ministry approval.

The city did not seek approval because it considered the bylaw a business-regulation bylaw, Helps said.

“We have the ability to regulate businesses to reflect the values of our community and the costs of doing business,” she said, adding that waste management is a very costly part of municipal business.

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