Toronto stores will have to charge shoppers C5 cents (US4 cents) per plastic shopping bag beginning June 1.
The bag tax is being imposed instead of an earlier proposal to require retailers to give consumers who bring their own bags a C10 cent (US8 cent) discount per bag.
The city's works committee had suggested the discount, but after meeting with retail industry officials, City Council decided on the fee instead.
``It was a compromise,'' said council member Glenn De Baeremaeker in a telephone interview. ``The stores didn't want government intervention.''
In the revised plan, retailers must accept consumers' use of reusable bags and charge C5 cents per bag they hand out. The city wants to cut by 70 percent the 460 million plastic bags used in Toronto per year by 2012.
Council also voted for retailers to have food-takeout outlets develop fully recyclable packaging. As well, councilors agreed to a ban on distribution of plastic water bottles on city premises, as contracts permit.