Canada’s ban on single-use plastics was overturned by the Federal Court this week for being an “unreasonable and unconstitutional” policy.
The case was brought forth by the Responsible Plastic Use Coalition and several other chemical companies who manufacture plastics.
“Today, the Federal Court sided with Alberta and Saskatchewan and found that listing plastics as a toxic substance is ‘both unreasonable and unconstitutional,” wrote Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Alberta Minister of Environment Rebecca Shulz in a joint statement.
The decision deemed that the government had acted outside of its authority and that listing plastics on the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 was too broad of a classification.
“There is no reasonable apprehension that all listed Plastic Manufactured Items are harmful,” read the decision.
The decision essentially overturns the cabinet order that had classified plastic manufactured items like straws, plastic bags and takeout containers as toxic, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).
However, the federal government is “strongly considering an appeal” on the decision, according to Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.
“Canadians have been loud and clear that they want action to keep plastic out of our environment,” said Guilbeault. “We will have more to say on next steps soon,” said Guilbeault.
The government can only ban items that are listed toxic under CEPA, meaning that six of the single-use plastic categories that had been banned will be lifted as a result of the decision.
The federal government’s ban on plastic items had already been implemented, banning the manufacturing and importing of six different categories with plans for a full ban on their sale and export by the end of 2025.
Premier Smith lauded the federal court’s decision, saying that it “demonstrates a continued pattern of federal overreach intended to subvert the constitutionally protected role and rights of provinces.”
Smith went on to say that the ban has had “wide-ranging consequences for Alberta’s economic interests,” putting thousands of jobs and billions of investments in jeopardy.
“Alberta is proudly home to Canada’s largest petrochemical sector, a sector with more than $18 billion in recently announced projects that were needlessly put in jeopardy by a virtue-signaling federal government with no respect for the division of powers outlined in the Canadian Constitution,” said Smith, urging the federal government not to file an appeal.