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Federal judge rules listing plastic items as toxic as ‘unconstitutional’

By Caitlin Snow Nov 17, 2023 | 12:12 PM

A federal judge has ruled Ottawa’s decision to list plastic items as toxic as not only ‘unreasonable’ but ‘unconstitutional’.

The “label” was a key step to allow the federal government to ban certain single use plastics such as checkout bags and straws, cutlery, food service wear and stir sticks; which was set to come into effect after December 20.

Judge Angela Furlanetto says there’s no reason to label all listed manufactured items as harmful and that adding a broad category of items to the list went beyond the rules of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

While Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says the federal government is strongly considering an appeal.

On X, former known as Twitter, Guilbeault said “The science is clear: plastic pollution is everywhere in our environment, harming wildlife and their habitats. There is also a growing body of evidence showing impacts on human health. We strongly believe in taking action to tackle this crisis and keep millions of garbage bags worth of trash off our beaches, out of our waters, and away from nature. That’s what we will keep fighting for.”

Meanwhile Alberta premier Danielle Smith and her Environment Minister are urging Ottawa to not appeal the decision saying adding plastics to the toxic substance list, ‘federal overreach’.

The case was brought forward by big industrial players in plastics including Dow Chemical, Imperial Oil and Nova Chemicals.