The Federal Court Overturns Ottawa’s Single-Use Plastic Ban

Wooden Gavel on table next to law book
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OTTAWA — The Federal Court has overturned Ottawa’s single-use plastic ban, deeming the policy “unreasonable and unconstitutional.”

The government is only able to regulate substances for environmental protection if they’re listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The decision by the court found that it wasn’t reasonable to say all plastic-manufactured items are harmful because the category is too broad. The decision has implications for the government’s ban on six single-use plastic items, which include cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks, straws, plastic bags and ring carriers.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in a statement that the federal government is “strongly considering an appeal” of the decision.

“We know restaurants across the country have been preparing for the ban for long time, given the upcoming December deadline prohibiting the sale of the listed items. Despite the court ruling, we encourage members to ensure they’re compliant with the ban’s timelines as the government may choose a more targeted approach to regulation,” said Simona Zar, director of Research & Policy at Restaurants Canada.

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