Victoria could be banning plastic bags – again – as early as Oct. 22.
A report coming to the committee of the whole on Thursday lays out two options for council to adopt an amended bylaw that would ban single-use plastic bags or impose a fee for people wanting them.
The city first introduced the checkout bag bylaw in January 2018. Shortly after, the Canadian Plastic Bag Association, an industry lobbying group, challenged the validity of the bylaw in court.
The BC Supreme court originally dismissed the challenge and saw the bylaw come into effect on July 1, 2018.
However, a decision in the BC Court of Appeal in July 2019 overruled this, saying the bylaw was invalid because it had been drafted as an economic measure when its main goal was environmental, meaning it required permission from the province.
In January, the bylaw was amended to state the purpose was for the protection of the natural environment. Council gave three readings and sent it off to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for approval.
On March 11, the city got the green light from Minister George Heyman, but the final reading of the bylaw was put on hold due to the pandemic.
Option number one recommends council conduct the final reading of the bylaw on April 15, 2021, which would provide businesses a defined period of time to prepare.
Option two is that council conducts the final reading of the bylaw at the Oct. 22 council meeting.