The Federal Court has overturned one of Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault’s favourite cabinet orders, the single-use plastics ban, potentially paving the way for grocery stores and fast-food restaurants to revert back to plastic straws and grocery bags.
The Trudeau Liberal’s 2021 cabinet order, which classified plastic manufactured items as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act after, was deemed unconstitutional.
The federal court judge found the Liberal’s order to classify plastic as a toxic substance to be “both unreasonable and unconstitutional.”
The decision comes after a group of plastic companies sued the federal government over their order, arguing that the feds lacked evidence that all plastics are toxic. They also argued that provinces should have jurisdiction over the matter.
Judges sides against the Liberals
On Thursday, the judge rendered his decision and agreed with the plaintiff, The Responsible Use Plastic Coalition, dealing yet another blow to the Trudeau Government’s attempts to regulate everything that Canadians touch.
The ruling has implications for companies that use straws, grocery bags, stir sticks, and takeout containers. The ban was already partially in effect, though not fully in effect until December 2025.
The Liberal’s will likely modify their ban before implementing another one with a similarly intended effect, if not appeal the decision.
Second court decision against the Liberals in two months
This recent blow to the Liberals follows an October ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court, which went against one of Justin Trudeau’s keystone environmental laws, Bill C-69.
Since then, Ontario has sought legal clarity over the ruling, as there are mixed reactions between provincial leaders and the feds.
Alberta rejoiced in the decision, with Premier Danielle Smith calling it a “massive win.”
But Guilbeault said the decision doesn’t strike down his environmental law. Instead, he said he’d “tighten” it in response to the ruling.