The British Columbia government has approved several municipal governments’ plastic bag bans, and is making changes so similar bans will be easier in other communities.
Environment Minister George Heyman announced the approvals Saturday.
The move came after the B.C. Court of Appeal struck down the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban in 2019, saying the municipality needed the province’s go-ahead to enact it.
The Canadian Plastic Bag Association initiated the court challenge.
Victoria, along with Richmond, Saanich, Tofino and Ucluelet have now been given the necessary approval to enact their bans.
The province says it will also consider similar bans enacted by other cities as they are submitted.
Heyman said the province is also preparing regulatory changes under the Community Charter — the law govrning how B.C. municipalities operate — to allow cities to enact bans on single-use plastic products without provincial approval.
The changes will ensure that people with disabilities or other health concerns will still be able to access plastic products when necessary, said Heyman.
The province is also expanding the types of single-use plastics that will be recycled through B.C.’s industry-managed home recycling pickups to include plastic cutlery and sandwich bags.
It is also setting a 10-cent minimum deposit on all beverage containers, and expanding the deposit program to include milk and milk-alternative product containers.
In approving the bans, the province cited its recent CleanBC Plastic Action Plan survey, which it says drew more than 35,000 responses.