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Bag ban by-law could be repealed

By Randy Thoms Mar 20, 2023 | 8:00 AM

EvelynGiggles / CC

A municipal by-law banning plastic bags in Fort Frances could be coming to an end.

They will still be banned, but it is now covered under federal regulations that took effect in late December.

An administration report going to the town’s Planning and Development Executive Committee note that federal regulation supersedes municipal by-laws and the town’s by-law enforcement department does not have the authority to enforce federal law.

The town implemented its ban in 2021 on plastic bags and single-use food packaging when the federal government was still mulling over the idea of a similar ban.

Enforcement was to begin in January 2022 to give businesses time to exhaust existing stock and find alternatives.

The enforcement was delayed a second time until last June.

The town’s by-law enforcement office fielded several inquiries from businesses about the ban but laid no charges.

Many had already complied with the by-law before enforcement took effect or the federal regulation kicked in.

The federal regulations are currently being tested in court.

Several plastic makers, including Dow Chemical Canada, Imperial Oil and Nova Chemicals, along with the lobby group, The Responsible Plastic Use Coalition, are challenging the federal ban.

They object to plastic being identified a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and should not be regulated the same as lead, formaldehyde and chromium.

The case now before the Federal Court of Canada, but a ruling is not expected for several months.




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