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Single-Use Plastic Bags Are Now Officially Banned In Montreal & Fines Can Reach $4,000

There are specific exceptions.

Senior Editor
Plastic bag and takeout container on a park table.

Plastic bag and takeout container on a park table.

As of Tuesday, September 27, Montreal restaurants are banned from distributing single-use plastic shopping bags, even for takeout and delivery. Plastic bag distribution has been banned in retail stores since August 2016 but the city council only voted to extend the measure to restaurants in September 2021.

The original 2016 by-law established fines for non-compliance ranging from, for individuals, $200 to $1,000 for a first offence and $300 to $2,000 for a second offence, and, for businesses, $400 to $2,000 for a first offence and $500 to $4,000 for a second offence.

There are a few exceptions, however. The ban does not include plastic bags for transporting or safekeeping meat, fish, bread, dairy or prepared food, nor does it include bags for transporting loose bulk items like nuts or candy.

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The rule applies to the 19 boroughs of the City of Montreal but not to other on-island municipalities, who could institute bans of their own.

It comes only about 15 months before a nationwide ban on plastic shopping bag distribution takes effect. The federal government will begin prohibiting the manufacture and importation of the bags in December 2022, followed by a ban on their sale in December 2023.

Locally, Montreal also plans to ban many single-use plastic trays, containers, plates, cups, sticks, straws and utensils in March 2023. At the federal level, a ban on single-use plastic cutlery, stir sticks, many food containers and straws (with exceptions for medical and accessibility purposes) is coming in December 2023.

A national ban on plastic rings for carrying beverage bottles and straws attached to juice boxes will follow in June 2024.

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