Toronto became the first major Canadian city to pass law banning retailers from offering plastic bags, following what has been described as a surprise vote during the city council’s June 6 sitting.
The city council also passed a law to scrap Toronto’s 5¢ bag fee, which has been actively debated for several weeks. The decision to outright ban the plastic bag, according to various news reports, has not been debated or studied by the city of Toronto. It was never on the council’s agenda, as opposed to the 5¢ bag fee, which Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, has been pushing to scrap.
While many environmental groups supported the plastic-bag ban, Mayor Ford, who helped run a printing and packaging company before his appointment, is in clear opposition to the ban.
Speaking with AM640, a local Toronto station, on the morning after the ban, Mayor Ford said: “It’s the dumbest thing council has done and council has done some dumb things.”
Toronto City Council voted 27 to 17 to make the plastic-bag ban effective on January 1, 2013, while Rob Ford’s proposal to eliminate the 5¢ bag fee on July 1 passed 23 to 21.