Update on Federal Single-Use Products Ban

Update on Federal Single-Use Products Ban – Federal ban remains in effect

Businesses that use single-use items should carefully monitor the status of the ban on single-use products – it remains in effect even though the Federal Court has called it “unreasonable and unconstitutional.”

Many franchisors and franchisees are aware that in 2021, the Government of Canada published its final Order Adding a Toxic Substance to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (“CEPA”) to label “plastic manufactured items” as “toxic” under Schedule 1 of the Act. The federal government has rolled out the ban in stages, with the aim of a full ban to be in effect by the end of 2025. The federal ban on non-essential single use plastics includes plastic checkout bags, stir sticks, 6-pack rings, cutlery, straws, and food service ware made from certain plastics.

In November of 2023, the Federal Court overturned Canada’s ban on single-use plastics, deeming it “unreasonable and unconstitutional.” The federal government has confirmed that it intends to appeal the decision. The exact implications of the decision may therefore depend on the outcome of that appeal. Importantly, Canada’s single-use plastics prohibition regulations remain in effect pending the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) decision.

On January 25, 2024, the FCA grated a stay on the decision of the Federal Court, meaning the regulation of single use plastics under the CEPA remains in effect, as do the compliance timelines set out in the CEPA. The FCA also directed that the appeal be expedited and that it may be heard no later than June 7, 2024. It is may be assumed that the federal government will take additional steps such as the enactment of new legislation or amendments to the CEPA to ensure the constitutionality of the single-use plastics prohibition regulations. The status of the federal ban on single use plastics should be closely monitored if your franchised business uses such items.

Franchisors and franchisees should also be aware that many provincial and municipal governments have developed and implemented their own plastic ban and single use product ban initiatives. These local programs all have differing requirements and propose different alternatives. For example, on July 14, 2023, BC introduced the Single Use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regulation under the Environment Management Act. This regulation targets the operations and products of “business operators” and “food service providers” and prohibits the distribution and sale of single use items in BC, both plastic and non-plastic, and came into effect in December 2023.

Any business that uses single use products, particularly the restaurant industry, should closely review and monitor federal, provincial and municipal laws and efforts regarding single use plastic items, as well as other single use items not made from plastic.

If you have questions about single use items, reach out to Marta or Tony.

By: Marta Davidson

Publication Date: February 9, 2024

Note: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice, is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies, and is not updated after the date of publication to account for changes to law or other circumstances that may impact its accuracy. Do not rely on these materials for legal advice or opinion. You should consult your own legal advisor for advice for your situation.