Inside Track: Planning, Environment & Sustainability - In the media, In practice and courts, Cases and Legislation - Real Estate and Construction


In an effort to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030, the Canadian
federal government, along with a number of provincial, territorial
and municipal governments have introduced regulations and new
mandates over the course of 2022 aimed at reducing waste and
pollution from single-use plastics. These regulations and mandates
raise a number of important considerations for businesses currently
manufacturing, selling or using single-use plastics in their
Canadian operations.

This is the seventh bulletin in our “Plan for the Ban”
series regarding prohibitions and increased regulation of
single-use plastics in Canada.1 This bulletin provides an
updated summary of the current state of single-use plastics
legislation across Canada and the changes and trends businesses can
expect to see over the next few years.

Canada (Federal)

Single-use Plastic Prohibition Regulations are

On June 22, 2022, the federal government published the Single-use Plastic Prohibition
(“SUPPR“) under the
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
(“CEPA“), which prohibits the
manufacture, import and sale of six categories of single-use
plastics: (i) checkout bags; (ii) cutlery (includes knives, forks,
spoons, sporks and chopsticks); (iii) foodservice ware (limited to
clamshell containers, lidded containers, boxes, cups, plates and
bowls) made from expanded or extruded polystyrene foam, polyvinyl
chloride, carbon black or an oxo-degradable plastic; (iv) ring
carriers; (v) stir sticks; and (vi) straws (both straight drinking
straws and flexible straws).2 To ensure accessibility, the
SUPPR permits hospitals, long-term care facilities and other care
institutions to sell or provide single-use plastic flexible straws
to their patients or residents. 3 However, this exception does
not apply to private foodservice companies operating within such
premises, nor does it apply to childcare centres.4

The SUPPR is being implemented in the following phased
timeline.5 As of
the date of this bulletin, the manufacture and import for sale of
certain single-use plastic products in Canada has been

Item Manufacture and Import for Sale in Canada Sale Manufacture, Import and Sale for Export
Checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks,
December 20, 2022 December 20, 2023 December 20, 2025
Ring carriers June 20, 2023 June 20, 2024 December 20, 2025
Flexible straws packages with beverage containers Not applicable June 20, 2024 December 20, 2025
*Single-use plastic flexible straws that are not
packaged with beverage containers are excluded under certain

To help businesses and organizations transition away from these
single-use plastics, the Government of Canada has published a
guidance document outlining best practices for selecting
alternative products6 as well as technical
guidelines7 about
the requirements of the SUPPR. For more information on the SUPPR,
please read our bulletin Plan for the Ban: Canada Announces Timeline for
Single-Use Plastics Prohibition

Canada Proposes Plastic Labelling Rules and Federal
Plastics Registry

Following the publication of the SUPPR, the Government of Canada
published two consultation papers: one on the creation of labelling
rules to enhance the accuracy of recyclability and compostability
information on plastic packaging and single-use plastics and the
other on the introduction of a federal plastics registry requiring
plastic producers to report annually on their plastic contribution
to the Canadian economy.

The proposed labelling regime would ban the use of the
“chasing arrows” symbol () on
plastic items unless at least 80 percent of recycling facilities in
Canada would accept and have reliable end markets for those
Furthermore, the proposal would introduce rules governing the use
of common terms in the labelling of plastic packaging such as
“compostable”, “degradable” and
“biodegradable”.9 Producers of packaging and
single-use plastic products would be required to assess their
plastic products to determine whether they can be recycled and
label them as either recyclable, not recyclable or a combination of
both.10 In
addition, in assessing their plastic items, producers would be
required to select a compliance mechanism such as a third-party
labelling program, calculator or a guideline.11

The proposed federal plastics registry would require plastics
producers to register and report on plastics in the Canadian
economy. This registry would support Canada’s extended producer
responsibility (“EPR“) policy, which
aims to improve waste reduction and recycling activities by
extending a producer’s physical and financial responsibility
for a product to the post-consumer stage of its lifecycle.12 The categories of
products that would be subject to reporting include: (i) packaging,
with sub-categories for beverage containers and single-use
plastics; (ii) construction plastics; (iii) automotive plastics;
(iv) electronics and electrical equipment; (v) textiles, which
include clothing, interior textiles (e.g. bedding), and footwear;
(vi) major appliances such as ovens and fridges; and (vii)
agricultural film.13 The reporting obligation
under the federal registry would fall on “obligated
producers”, which depending on the particular
jurisdiction’s stewardship legislation, is the product’s
brand owner, or alternatively the manufacturer, importer,
distributor or retailer of the product into Canada.14

The federal registry will be implemented in stages, with Phase 1
slated to begin before the end of 2024.15 Phase 1 would require
producers already subject to EPR programs in provincial and
territorial jurisdictions to report on the plastics they placed on
the market for packaging and electronics. Reporting obligations for
producers of the other categories of plastic products noted above
will follow in Phases 2 to 4. Proposed timelines for these
subsequent Phases have not yet been announced.16

The two federal consultations were open for stakeholder feedback
until October 7, 2022. For more information on the proposed
labelling rules and plastics registry, please read our bulletin Plan for the Ban: Canada Proposes
Plastic Labelling Rules and Federal Plastics Registry

Canada Endorses UN Resolution to End Plastic

On March 2, 2022, officials from Canada and 174 other countries
endorsed a resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly to
create a legally binding global treaty to control and reduce
plastic pollution and waste.17 The resolution, entitled
“End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally
binding instrument” (the “UN
“) establishes an Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee (“INC“), which
will develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution by
2024.18 For more
information on the UN Resolution, please read our bulletin Plan for the Ban: Canada Joins UN
Countries in World’s First Global Plastic Pollution

Canadian officials attended the first session of the INC, which
took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay from November 29 to December
2, 2022.19 The
second INC session will be a combined plenary and treaty
negotiation session and will be held in Paris in May 2023.20 Canada’s
involvement in and support of the treaty negotiation process, as
well its ongoing domestic efforts to reduce plastic waste, serve as
positive indicators that it will eventually sign, ratify and
implement the UN treaty once its terms have been finalized.

Canada Proposes Minimum Recycled Content
Requirements for Plastic Items

On February 11, 2022, Environment and Climate Change Canada
(“ECCC“) sought feedback on proposed
regulations under CEPA that would set minimum recycled content
requirements for certain plastic manufactured products.21 Product
categories that would be subject to the requirements include
beverage containers, garbage bags, waste bins and non-bottle rigid
containers and trays (other than those in direct contact with
food).22 The
proposed regulations would also include requirements for measuring,
verifying and reporting recycled content in plastic packaging.23 The public
engagement period closed on March 14, 2022 and the proposed
regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, as
early as Fall 2023, followed by a public comment period.24

Provinces and Territories

Plastics regulation at the provincial/territorial level
generally revolves around stewardship, recycling and waste disposal
initiatives. However, there is often some overlap and coordination
between the federal and provincial/territorial single-use plastics
legislation . The following is a summary of the state of
legislation in relation to single-use plastics and plastics more
generally at the provincial/territorial level. A discussion of the
various provincial/territorial stewardship programs that regulate
plastic products and packaging will be the subject of a future

British Columbia

On April 22, 2022, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment
and Climate Change Strategy (the
MECCS“) published an Intentions Paper outlining
British Columbia’s proposed regulation to reduce single-use
plastic waste as part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan.25 The proposed
regulation would ban all plastic checkout bags, require that a fee
be charged on paper and new reusable checkout bags, prohibit the
automatic distribution of foodservice accessories like single-use
straws and cutlery, ban plastic foodservice packaging made from
polystyrene foam, PVC or compostable plastic, and ban all packaging
made from oxo-degradable plastic.26

The MECCS sought input on the proposed regulation from
residents, Indigenous communities, businesses, local governments
and organizations, which engagement concluded on July 5, 2022.27 The MECCS will
use the feedback from the engagement to inform the drafting of the
new regulation. The feedback will also be summarized in a What We
Heard report, set to be released in early 2023. The proposed
regulation is expected to come into effect in spring 2023 and will
be implemented in stages.28


The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba had proposed the ambitious
Bill 244, which would amend The
Waste Reduction and Prevention Act by banning retailers from
supplying single-use plastics to consumers and requiring the
Minister to create a plan to reduce single-use plastics in
Manitoba. Under Bill 244, retailers would be banned from providing
plastic checkout bags and plastic drinking straws effective January
2021. Furthermore, after January 1, 2025, retailers would be banned
from offering the following single use plastics to customers:
expanded polystyrene foam containers for food or beverages, items
made from oxo-degradable or oxo-fragmentable plastics, disposable
coffee cups, and plastic water bottles. However, Bill 244 did not
proceed past the first reading and there are no comparable bills
currently under consideration in Manitoba.29

Nova Scotia

On October 30, 2020, Nova Scotia banned all businesses from
providing single-use plastic shopping bags, subject to certain

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador instituted a ban on retail plastic
bags effective October 1, 2020.31

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s Plastic Bag Reduction
, which came into effect on July 1, 2019, prohibits
businesses from providing plastic checkout bags to customers.32 On December 1,
2022, Bill 79, An Act to Amend the Plastic Bag
Reduction Act
received Royal Assent. Bill 79 eliminates
the mandatory fee of 15 cents for a paper checkout bag, but retains
the minimum one dollar fee for a reusable bag.33


Yukon’s Reduction of Single-Use Bags
prohibits the supply of new single-use bags.
The ban on single-use plastic bags began on January 1, 2022,
followed by a ban on single-use paper bags on January 1, 2023.34 Bags that are
exempt from the prohibition include prescription drug bags,
take-out food bags and produce bags.35

Other Provinces and Territories

Saskatchewan, Québec, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the
Northwest Territories have not proposed provincial legislation
prohibiting or regulating any single-use plastics. However, the
Northwest Territories has instituted a single-use retail bag
program that charges a 25 cent fee on every non-reusable paper,
plastic or biodegradable bag purchased by a customer.36


Local governments across Canada continue to introduce bans on
the distribution of certain single-use plastics through municipal
by-laws, which do not require provincial approval. For example,
Montréal passed a by-law, which will come into effect on
March 28, 2023, banning the distribution of eight single-use
plastic items including plates and utensils in food service
establishments and restaurants.37 In addition, Vancouver
placed a ban on plastic shopping bags and introduced minimum fees
on paper and reusable shopping bags, effective January 1, 2022.
Furthermore, under Vancouver’s License By-Law No. 4450, minimum
fees will increase to 25 cents for paper bags and two dollars for
new reusable bags beginning on January 1, 2023.38

The City of Spruce Grove in Alberta passed a by-law banning
businesses from providing plastic checkout bags, polystyrene
serving ware and plastic straws (with exceptions), which came into
effect on January 1, 2022. The City also developed a toolkit for businesses
containing educational material and advice on communicating with
Similarly, Regina passed a by-law prohibiting retail and food
service businesses from providing, distributing or selling plastic
checkout bags as of February 1, 2022, and published a business toolkit with promotional
materials to educate customers.40 Many other Canadian cities
have passed by-laws prohibiting certain single-use plastics in 2022
including, but not limited to, Sault Ste. Marie41, Chilliwack42 and Edmonton43.

Planning Ahead for Businesses

As evidenced by the legislative developments over the course of
2022, Canada has commenced the ban of certain single-use plastics
and has it sights set on other plastic products for future
regulation. There is also a trend across the country toward
shifting the operational and financial responsibility of plastics
recycling to producers. Existing, pending and future regulations
will likely continue to expand over time, resulting in more
prohibitions and restrictions on plastics products and packaging.
Businesses would therefore be well advised to consider alternatives
to single-use plastics manufactured, sold or used in their


1 Talia Gordner and Cody Foggin, “Plan for the Ban: Single-Use
Plastic Bans are Rolling Out Across Canada – Are You
” (September 2020); Talia Gordner and Cody Foggin,
Plan for the Ban: Canada Announces
Plan to Tackle Single-Use Plastics
” (October 2020); Talia
Gordner, Julia Loney and Tess Dimroci, “Plan for the Ban: Our New
Year’s Update of Single-Use Plastics Bans Across
” (January 2021); Talia Gordner, Julia Loney and
Ralph Cuervo-Lorens, “Plan for the Ban: Plastics
Classified as “Toxic Substance” Under Canadian
Environmental Protection Act
” (July 2021); Talia Gordner
and Julia Loney, “Plan for the Ban: Canada Announces
Timeline for Single-Use Plastics Prohibition
” (June 2022);
Talia Gordner, Julia Loney and Ralph Cuervo-Lorens, “Plan for the Ban: Canada Proposes
Plastic Labelling Rules and Federal Plastics Registry

(September 2022).

2 Government of Canada, “Single-use Plastics Prohibition
Regulations – Overview
” (October 19, 2022) Overview of

3 Government of Canada, “Fact sheet: Exceptions for
single-use plastic flexible straws
” (October 26, 2022)
Exceptions for SUP Flexible Straws.

4 Exceptions for SUP Flexible

5 Overview of SUPPR.

6 Environment Canada & Climate Change, “Single-use Plastics Prohibition
Regulations – Guidance for selecting alternatives
” (June
20, 2022).

7 Environment Canada & Climate Change, “Single-use Plastics Prohibition
Regulations – Technical guidelines
” (June 20, 2022).

8 Environment and Climate Change Canada, Consultation
Paper, “
Towards Canada-wide rules to
strengthen recycling and composting of plastics through accurate
” Plastics Labelling Consultation Paper at

9 ibid at 31.

10 ibid at 3.

11 ibid at 3.

12 Environment and Climate Change Canada, Consultation
Paper, “
A proposed federal plastics
registry for producers of plastic product
” Federal
Plastics Registry Consultation Paper at 4.

13 ibid at 9.

14 ibid at 13.

15 ibid at 20.

16 ibid at 19.

17 United Nations Environment Programme, “Historic day in the campaign to
beat plastic pollution: Nations commit to develop a legally binding
” (March 2, 2022) UN Resolution.

18 UN Resolution.

19 United Nations Environment Programme, “First session of Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding
instrument on plastic pollution
” (December 2, 2022).

20 International Union for Conservation of Nature,
Towards an Agreement on Plastic
Pollution: INC-1 took place in Uruguay
” (December 9,

21 Government of Canada, “Development of Minimum Recycled
Content Requirements for plastic items – Overview

(December 15, 2022) Proposed Minimum Recycled Content

22 ibid.

23 Government of Canada, “Technical issues paper:
Recycled content for certain plastic manufactured items
Regulations” (February 11, 2022).

24 ibid.

25 Government of British Columbia, “Preventing Single-Use and Plastic
Waste in British Columbia – Intentions Paper
” (April 22,
2022) BC Intentions Paper.

26 ibid at 10.

27 Government of British Columbia, “CleanBC Plastics Action Plan – What is this
engagement about?

28 ibid.

29 The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, Bill 244: The Waste Reduction And Prevention
Amendment Act (Reducing Single-Use Plastics

30 Government of Nova Scotia, “Single-use plastic bag

31 Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, “Ban on Retail Plastic Bags Coming
into Effect in October
” (September 2, 2020).

32 Government of Prince Edward Island, “Plastic Bag Reduction
(December 14, 2022).

33 Bill 79, An Act to Amend the
Plastic Bag Reduction Act
(December 1, 2022).

34 Government of Yukon, “Yukon bag ban“.

35 Reduction of Single-Use Bags
, s. 3.

36 Government of Northwest Territories, “Single-use Retail Bag

37 City of Montréal, “Single-use plastic: What you need
to know about legislation
” (December 22, 2022).

38 City of Vancouver, “Shopping bags“.

39 City of Spruce Grove, “Single-Use Items Reduction

40 City of Regina, “Plastic Checkout Bag

41 City of Sault Ste. Marie, “Single-Use

42 City of Chilliwack, “Single-Use Item Reduction

43 City of Edmonton, “Single-Use Item

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not
constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any
decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal
advice should be obtained.

© McMillan LLP 2021

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