Saskatchewan takes legal action against federal single-use plastic ban

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Saskatchewan takes legal action against federal single-use plastic ban

Saskatchewan justice minister says banning single-use plastics is not within federal jurisdiction. (File photo)

The Saskatchewan government is challenging Ottawa's decision to ban single-use plastics in court, provincial Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre announced Tuesday. As of December 20, 2022, the manufacture and importation for sale in Canada of single-use bags is prohibited.

Plastic checkout bags, straws, cutlery, six-pack rings, stir sticks or take-out utensils made from hard-to-clean plastics. recycling are among the six single-use plastic products affected by this ban.

According to Ottawa, this is part of the overall plan to fight pollution, in order to reach its goal of zero plastic waste by 2030 and thus contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

But the Saskatchewan government says the decision is beyond the jurisdiction of the federal government. Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre says waste management is a provincial responsibility.

It was an important opportunity to affirm, once again, that this is interference by the federal government, Ms Eyre said at the press conference on Tuesday. in the Legislative Assembly.

“The federal government's involvement in this area increases the complexity, confusion and management of waste.

—Bronwyn Eyre, Saskatchewan Minister of Justice.

She adds that it would also have negative economic implications, especially for small businesses.

The decision is also strongly criticized by the plastics industry, which believes that this federal government plan was not based on sufficient scientific evidence to be justified.

Four major companies filed a lawsuit. Several stakeholders, including the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, were successful in obtaining intervenor status.

This status allows them to participate in legal action by demonstrating their interest in the case. Also, their arguments must contribute to the proceedings. A federal court judge in Toronto will hear arguments this week.

Saskatchewan's plea argument hinges on the fact that plastic should not be considered a toxic substance along with others, such as arsenic and mercury, Ms. Eyre said.

The official opposition minimizes this decision by Saskatchewan. According to Saskatchewan New Democratic Party Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer, there are other steps the provincial government could take that would help residents and small businesses more with affordability than with health. #x27;intervene in court.

Judicial remedies are important, said Nicole Sarauer, but if the concern is affordability, she suggests that measures such as freezing utility rates and stimulating the local economy would have a bigger and faster impact.

Several Atlantic provinces and Canadian cities, including Regina, have already taken action against plastic. Some big companies, like Sobeys, have also phased out single-use plastics.

With information from Nicholas Frew

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