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Montreal City Council voted on the regulations in September 2021. However, a one-year transition period has been provided to allow businesses to adjust.
“We have a responsibility to take concrete and courageous decisions to address the climate crisis, now. The ban on plastic bags demonstrates our administration’s firm desire to accelerate Montreal’s ecological transition,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
Compliance with the regulations will be ensured by the inspectors of the various boroughs of the City. Recalcitrants will face a fine of $200 to $1,000 for a first offence, and $300 to $2,000 for a repeat offense.
However, the City will grant some tolerance over the next few days to allow businesses to use up their supply of bags.
According to city data, only 16% of plastic bags are recovered. The others most often end up in the environment, where they can take up to 1,000 years to break down.
In the same vein, Montreal will ban, as of March 2023, the distribution of eight single-use plastic items in restaurants. These include trays (except those for meat and fish), plates, utensils, straws, stir sticks as well as cups, glasses and containers.
These changes are part of the City’s goals to become “zero waste” by 2030.
At the end of the month, the City will launch a communication campaign to encourage the population to take the “right steps” in this context.