Oak Bay to Phase Out Single-Use Plastic Bags

May 31, 2022

Oak Bay to Phase Out Single-Use Plastic Bags

After consultation with local businesses in 2021, the District has adopted a bylaw that will prevent businesses in Oak Bay from offering single-use plastic bags at the point of purchase and will require businesses to charge a minimum fee for paper and reusable bags.

“These changes will help reduce plastic waste in our community and our landfills,” says Mayor Kevin Murdoch. “They will also improve regulatory consistency within the region, essentially mirroring similar bylaws in place in Victoria, Saanich, and Esquimalt.” 

These changes will take effect on November 24, 2022, to give Oak Bay businesses time to adjust and prepare. However, the District encourages residents to make the switch now to reusable bags, and some businesses have begun to proactively eliminate single-use plastic bags already.

When the bylaw comes into effect, two things will be different: 1) plastic checkout bags will no longer be available at businesses in Oak Bay, and 2) businesses will charge a minimum fee for paper and reusable checkout bags (for a 1-year introductory period, the minimum feel will be $0.15 for each paper bag and $1.00 for each reusable bag; after that, the minimum fee will be $0.25 for paper bags and $2.00 for reusable bags). These fees will help businesses recover the cost of more expensive paper and reusable bags. Fees will not apply to small paper bags, such as those commonly used by pharmacies to package prescription drugs, and the bylaw includes several exemptions, including bags used for packaging loose bulk items, small hardware items, select food products, flowers, and a few similar items.

Oak Bay is one of over thirty municipalities in BC that are taking action to reduce the impacts of single-use plastic waste on local communities or have already implemented bylaws to regulate their use. The Government of Canada and the Province of BC are also developing strategies to manage plastic products, and a federal ban on single-use plastic bags is anticipated in the near future. The Province of BC released its intentions paper on Preventing Single-Use and Plastic Waste in British Columbia in early-May and is currently seeking feedback on preventing single-use and plastic waste in British Columbia. To learn more, visit www.engage.gov.bc.ca/plastics.

Background information and resources for businesses are available at www.oakbay.ca/plastics.


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For media enquiries, please contact:
Kevin Murdoch
(250) 896-4983