Open Letter to Ontario Government: A harmonized approach to single-use plastics is better for business than municipal patchwork. - Retail Council of Canada

Open Letter to Ontario Government: A harmonized approach to single-use plastics is better for business than municipal patchwork.

October 3, 2019

With multiple municipalities drafting one-off local approaches to reduce single-use plastics, Retail Council of Canada asks the Ontario government to discuss a province-wide solution.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) issued an open letter to Minister Yurek, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks earlier today, asking for a harmonized approach to single-use plastics.

Across Ontario, several municipal and regional councils are in the process of developing proposals on how to reduce single-use plastics within their local area.

Ontario consumers have increasing concern over the environmental impact caused by single-use plastics. Our retailers are the first point of contact between consumers and brands and are sensitive to their needs. In RCC’s open letter today, we recognize the sentiment behind these motions by local governments to reduce single-use plastics. Instead of taking local individual action, RCC’s letter to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks indicates our support for a harmonized approach, taken by the provincial government.

Our members are supportive of going green – just without increased red tape.

Business owners are concerned that one-off location initiatives will lead to a patchwork of plastic bag by-laws across the province of Ontario – something our members are struggling to cope with in other jurisdictions. In Quebec, for example, there are 40 different municipal jurisdictions with 19 unique sets of rules governing plastic shopping bags. View RCC’s quick reference table of local restrictions in all provinces here.

Retailers of all sizes – especially those with multiple locations across multiple municipalities – find it difficult to manage the complexities of unique local restrictions which, in many cases, apply to a single store location. A patchwork of single-use plastic by-laws adds compliance costs and operational burden to retail stores.

Today’s letter from RCC indicates our members’ support of action taken at a province-wide level. With ongoing engagement starting between the Ontario Government, municipalities and stakeholders around the Blue Box system in Ontario, our letter encourages the Minister to use Blue Box discussions as a platform to work towards a province-wide solution.

With this, Ontario can both realize the objective of the various municipal/regional motions on single-use plastics, while avoiding the negative impact of different rules for businesses in each jurisdiction.


View Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ response to RCC’s open letter to the government on single-use plastics in Ontario.


About Retail Council of Canada

Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $377 billion in 2018. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.

For more information or to schedule media interviews, contact:

Colin Asuncion
Marketing Manager
1-888-373-8245 | Ext. 240

Sebastian Prins
Director, Government Relations (Ontario)