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Legal Challenge Coming to Toronto’s Plastic Bag Ban

Ontario Convenience Stores Association taking Toronto to court over its new plastic bag regulations.

Photo by {a href=""}alisdair jones{/a} from the {a href=""}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

It hasn’t taken effect yet, but a legal challenge to Toronto’s new plastic bag ban is forthcoming from the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA).

The wording of the new bylaw was approved just yesterday by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee; it is scheduled to go for a final vote at the next full city council meeting on November 27. The ban was introduced in a surprise move earlier this year, when Rob Ford fought to eliminate the five-cent bag fee that was introduced under David Miller. Council agreed to eliminate the fee—but then went ahead and decided to ban the bags altogether. That new rule is set to take effect January 1, 2013.

A notice of application was served on the City of Toronto today, announcing the civil suit. According to a news release issued this afternoon, OCSA has several issues with the ban and is challenging it on the grounds that it falls outside the municipal government’s jurisdiction, and also that public consultation was insufficient.

More generally, it seems that their worry is that a bag ban will unfairly limit convenience store owners’ livelihood. Dave Bryans, OCSA’s CEO, comments that “Torontonians don’t normally drop into convenience stores with reusable bags. If merchants are prohibited from providing plastic bags, shoppers will be less likely to make purchases and that will mean Toronto’s small, family-run convenience stores will be hit hardest.”

Yesterday, Public Works chair Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) voted for the ban, but also said that “We’re leaving it to the private sector to save us from our own madness…by hopefully taking this to court and having it overturned.” It seems the councillor is getting at least the first part of his wish. The City was not able to immediately confirm whether the legal proceedings would mean that the new bylaw will be put on hold until a judge has ruled on the matter.

Ontario Convenience Stores Association vs. The City of Toronto


  • Andy Poolhall

    Mexico city banned them . one of THE most populated cities on the planet.

  • Anonymous

    There’s nothing to stop them from offering paper bags, or carrying a line of reusable bags for sale. This is a nuisance suit.

    • Anonymous

      Denzil said it, they did it.

  • Ben

    Bought a small data key that contained a 1ft by 1ft container. Thing is an inch by an inch. The packaging that these items come in is a much bigger issue. Why that is not talked about, who knows. But I guess counselors just like the ‘easy’ answer.

    • may

      packaging is bigger to prevent theft.

  • Todeskäfer

    The decision to ban the plastic bags in the first place was a knee-jerk reaction on the part of certain people in city council who did it just to spite Ford

    • OgtheDim

      Yeah, that David Shiner guy is such a Ford hater. He even has the gall to be a hater while sitting on Ford’s exec committee.

      You do know not everything in this city is about Ford, right?

  • Chris

    DMW is a coward – if he truly is against the ban, he should’ve voted that way, instead of voting in favour of it and then imploring citizens to waste their money (and ours) with a lawsuit of dubious merit, in order to overturn the decions. He’s trying to “Mitt” the situation by wanting to have it both ways.

    Two questions for DMW: How is that showing leadership, and how is that respecting taxpayers?

    • Jason

      DMW explained very clearly why he voted in favour of the ban. The piece of information is missing from this article.