Shopping bag regulations across Canada

To help you find your way through the patchwork of plastic bag bylaws and regulations, we have assembled a quick reference table.

Jump to: Alberta | British Columbia | Manitoba | PEI | Quebec

*means jurisdictions where fees are charged for bags that can still be distributed

Alberta

Municipality Types of bags banned Exemptions Taking effect on
Wetaskiwin Single use plastic bags thinner than 2 mils or 50 microns thick Single-use plastic bags used for:

  • Carrying fruits or vegetables; fresh meat or fish products
  • Containing bulk food items or bulk hardware items
  • Freshly prepared bakery items or other food items
  • Wrapping flowers or potted plants
  • Clothes after professional laundering/ dry-cleaning
  • Dirty, greasy, or hazardous products or materials
  • Any other durable material suitable for multiple uses or made of cloth and/or machine washable fabric
July 9, 2019
Wood Buffalo (Ft McMurray) Polyethylene bags thinner than 57 microns or made of biodegradable plastic, oxo-biodegradable plastic, plastarch, polylactide, or any other plastic resin composite
  • Drive-in or Drive-through, Restaurant, Mobile Catering; or a Take out Restaurant
  • Bags distributed to food banks, homeless or animal shelters
  • Loose, bulk goods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items such as nails, screws, nuts and bolts; flowers; which goods are not prepackaged; dry cleaning
January 1, 2010, revised on April 10, 2012

 

British Columbia

Municipality Types of bags banned Exemptions Taking effect on
Qualicum Beach Single-use plastic shopping bags (plastic shopping bags are defined as any bag made with any amount of plastic, including biodegradable plastic, but does not include a Reusable Bag, a bag with handles that is designed and manufactured to have a minimum lifetime of 100 uses and is at least 2.25 mils (0.571 millimetres) thick, if made of plastic.)

Plastic straws. (“Plastic Straw” means a straw made primarily of plastic, including biodegradable plastic, but is not a Reusable Straw or a Compostable Straw)

Bags that are used to

  • package loose bulk items that are not prepackaged, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and candy;
  • contain small hardware items that are not prepackaged, such as nails, screws, nuts, and bolts;
  • contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish, which may be prepackaged;
  • wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not prepackaged;
  • contain prescription drugs and over the counter medications; or
  • protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning.
  • This bylaw does not apply to the sale of Plastic Bags intended for use at the customer’s home or business, provided that they are prepackaged and sold in packages of multiple bags.
  • This bylaw does not apply to the sale of Plastic Straws intended for use in the customer’s home, provided they are sold in packages of multiple straws.
July 1, 2019
Victoria * Single-use plastic shopping bags

Paper bags containing less than 40% post-consumer recycled paper content

  • Package loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grain or candy
  • Package small hardware items such as nails and bolts
  • Contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish whether prepackaged or not
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged
  • Contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy
  • Transport live fish
  • Protect linens, bedding or other similar large items that do not fit easily in a reusable bag
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material intended to be left at the customer’s residence or place of business
  • Protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning
  • Paper bags containing at least 40% post-consumer recycled paper content and labelled as both “Recyclable” and “made from 40% post-consumer recycled content (and charge a minimum of 15 cents per paper bag, rising to 25 cents per paper bag on July 1, 2019)
  • Reusable bags designed and manufactured to last at least 100 uses, and, primarily made of cloth or other washable fabric (and charge a minimum fee of $1 per reusable bag, rising to $2 per reusable bag on July 1, 2019)
July 1, 2018

 

Manitoba

Municipality Types of bags banned Exemptions Taking effect on
Snow Lake Single-use plastic bags

Any plastic bag not made of durable material suitable for reuse

  • Loose, bulk goods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items such as nails, screws, nuts and bolts
  • Bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, flower, potted plans, bakery foods
  • Bags to contain prescription drugs
  • Dry cleaning
July 5, 2016
The Pas June 13, 2016
Thompson * Plastic bags thinner than 2.25 mils thick (57 microns) or made of biodegradable plastic, oxo-biodegradable plastic, plastarch, polylactide, or any other plastic resin composite

Single-use plastic bags should not be offered for free

December 31, 2010
Leaf Rapids Single-use plastic bags
  • Dairy products
  • Fruit, vegetables or nuts
  • Confectionery
  • Cooked foods, hot or cold
  • Ice
  • Smaller bags for fresh meat, fish, candy and poultry
  • Grocery bags that cost more than $1.50
April 2, 2007

 

Prince Edward Island

Province-wide Types of bags banned Exemptions Taking effect on
Province-wide Any single-use plastic bags made with plastic, including biodegradable plastic or compostable plastic, but not meant to be reusable.

intended to be used by a customer for the purpose of transporting items purchased or received by the customer from the business providing the bag, and/or bags used to package take-out food or food to be delivered

Reusable bags not meeting the definition set out in the bylaw

  • Plastic bags used for loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains or candy, loose small hardware items, frozen foods, flowers or potted plants, prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged, prescription drugs;
  • Transport live fish
  • Protect linens, bedding or other similar large items;
  • Protect newspapers or other printed material intended to be left at the customer’s residence or place of business
  • Dry cleaning
  • Medical supplies
  • Protect tires
  • Paper bags
  • Reusable bags (meant for at least 100 uses)
July 1, 2019

 

Quebec

Municipality Types of bags banned Exemptions Taking effect on
Saint-Sauveur Conventional polyethylene checkout bags, biodegradable bags, oxodegradable bags and paper bags, regardless of their thickness.
  • Reusable bags (specifically designed to be reused and can be made of plastic or other material)
  • Wrapping/hygiene purpose bags used for packaging bulk items, fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Bags used for door-to-door advertising, bags used in an industrial process or compostable bags (a compostable bag must be made of starch molecules and be certified CAN/BNQ 0017-088 or showing the certification logo “Compostable”)
April 22, 2019
Pincourt Plastic shopping bags thinner than 50 microns

Oxodegradable or oxo biodegradable, compostable polyester and starch shopping bags, regardless of thickness

  • Plastic bags used exclusively to carry produce, nuts, bulk snacks, ready-to-eat foods, meat, fish, bread and dairy products to the check-out counter or to protect these food products from direct contact with other items for reasons of hygiene
April 22, 2019
Beloeil April 1, 2019
Candiac
Delson
La Prairie
Léry
Mercier
Saint-Constant
Sainte-Catherine
Saint-Isidore
Saint-Mathieu
Saint-Philippe
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue
January 1, 2019
Prévost Same as above, with Phase 2 banning all non-reusable plastic bags regardless of thickness. November 1, 2018

Phase 2: January 1, 2020

Mascouche Plastic shopping bags thinner than 100 microns

Compostable polyester and starch shopping bags

  • Bags made of 100% recyclable paper (including the handle)
  • Film bags for produce, meat, fish, and items purchased in bulk such as nuts and flour
Effective April 22, 2018 with transition period until April 1, 2019
Beauharnois Plastic single-use shopping bags

Oxodegradable or oxo biodegradable plastic bags, regardless of thickness

  • Plastic bags used exclusively to carry items to the check-out counter or to protect these food products for reasons of hygiene
  • Plastic bags used to carry prescription drugs
Effective April 22, 2018 with 6-month transition period
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville Plastic shopping bags thinner than 100 microns

Compostable polyester and starch shopping bags

  • Shopping bags made of cellulosic fibers or recyclable paper (including the handle)
  • Film bags for produce, meat, fish, and items purchased in bulk such as nuts and flour
April 22, 2018
Brossard September 1, 2016
Longueuil Plastic shopping bags thinner than 50 microns

Oxodegradable or oxo biodegradable

  • Plastic bags used exclusively to carry produce, nuts, bulk snacks, ready-to-eat foods, meat, fish, bread and dairy products to the check-out counter or to protect these food products from direct contact with other items for reasons of hygiene
  • Plastic bags used to carry prescription drugs
September 1, 2018
Montreal
Calixa-Lavallée
Contrecoeur,
Saint-Amable
Sainte-Julie
Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil
Varennes
Verchères
January 1, 2018
Mont-Saint-Hilaire
Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Saint-Basile-le-Grand
Saint-Lambert
Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-lac
Same as above, as well as compostable polyester and starch shopping bags, regardless of thickness. April 22, 2018
Sainte-Martine No bag made of whatever type of plastic January 1, 2010
Deux-Montagnes Plastic single-use shopping bags
  • Biodegradable bags
  • Bags meant to carry items purchased in bulk
  • Paper bags
July 1, 2009
Huntingdon Plastic shopping bags
  • Biodegradable bags
  • Paper bags
January 1, 2008
Saint-Anselme January 1, 2009

Be heard. Save money. Stay informed.

Become a member