Plastic bag manufacturers have taken their battle against Toronto's bag ban to a new level.
The Canada Plastic Bag Association started a legal proceeding against the city Nov. 19 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto.
“As Toronto City Council gave no notice, undertook no public consultation, carried out no due diligence, and received no advice prior to adopting the plastic bag ban, the bag-ban resolution ought to be quashed for having been passed in bad faith,” CPBA spokesman Joe Hruska said in a news release.
The trade association argues that Toronto's council did not get input from anyone who indicated the ban “would further the economic, social, and/or environmental well-being of the city or would protect the health, safety and well-being of any person.”
The CPBA's legal filing is the second notice of court action in less than a week. The Ontario Convenience Stores Association launched the first legal challenge Nov. 15.
CPBA is an ad hoc group recently formed to fight the ban, Hruska said in a telephone interview. It comprises bag producers and distributors throughout Canada. Its members supply single-service bags to supermarkets; department, discount, drug and convenience stores; and other retail outlets.
The convenience stores association has retained high-powered law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP of Toronto to prosecute its case. The association opposes the ban on the grounds the law is outside the city's jurisdiction and that it was rushed through without consultation.
“The bylaw selectively exempts dozens of plastic bags, but targets a single type — one that many retailers rely upon and that research shows consumers frequently reuse after they carry home their purchases,” OCSA said in a news release.
Toronto's bag ban is slated to become effective Jan. 1. Exemptions include bulk and frozen-food bags. The city council is scheduled to take a final vote on the ban at a meeting in November.
The council first voted to ban plastic bags during an early June meeting that was originally to discuss rescinding a 5-cent tax on plastic retail bags. During the meeting, a motion to ban the bags was put forward and garnered more than half of council votes.
A plastics industry executive said off the record it is unlikely bag producers and distributors would join forces with other bag battlers because their aims, although initially similar, may diverge in the future.
Retail plastic bag usage in Toronto has fallen by 50 percent since the bag fee was legislated. Toronto is Canada's largest city, with more than 3 million residents within city limits.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association had set up a website in late September that reported on the facts and myths of plastics shopping bags.
The “All About Bags” website was designed to help Toronto City Council make an informed decision on the ban. One issue it addressed was the viability of reusable bags. The website claims such bags must be reused 131 times to match the lower environmental impact of a plastic shopping bag.